Cricket Cranes continued their fairytale run in the desert at the World Cup Challenge League Group B with a 38-run win over Italy at Al Amerat.

The win is their fourth in a row as they aim to finish top of Group after the first round.

The Cricket Cranes were without their captain Brian Masaba who was ruled out of the game with a fever and vice Captain Arnold Otwani slotted into his position.

At the toss, the luck continued to elude Uganda as Arnold Otwani called wrong and Cricket Cranes were asked to bat by the Italians.

Roger Mukasa and his opening partner Arnold Otwani continued their barren run as both failed to put on a reasonable score and it was up to Shahzad Kamal (78) and Ronak Patel (53) to steady the ship. The second-wicket partnership was worth 120 runs as both batsmen followed by their half-centuries from the win against Bermuda with well-crafted half tons.

Shahzad’s departure at 163/3 slowed things down and the remaining seven wickets only contributed a paltry 55 runs.

The late collapse, however, didn’t do much damage as the Uganda finished on 218 all out, the first time the Cricket Cranes have been bowled out in the tournament.

In the chase, Uganda got rid of dangerman Nikolai Smith to keep the Italians at bay but his opening partner Gian Meade (43) took on the responsibility of aggressor as they tried to chase down the total.

There were some nervy moments when the Italians seemed to have settled but Man of the Match Bilal Hassun had other ideas as his 5/27 sealed the game for the Cricket Cranes.

The win, though laboured, means that the Cricket Cranes will definitely finish among the top 2 sides at the tournament. They will take on HongKong on Wednesday which is their final game of the tournament.

The second leg of this Cricket World Cup qualifier will be held in Uganda next year in July.

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