Kenya drew first blood against fierce rivals Uganda in the first game of the Pearl Of Africa T20 Series, defeating the hosts by 22 runs. With ICC T20 ranking points on offer, there was no room for trails as both sides selected their best teams.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that had taken a lot of rain in the morning. Kenyan opener Gurdeep Bhagat (27) and Irfan Karim (67) laid the perfect platform for the Kenyan innings as their 89 run partnership wore down the Ugandans.

Some good bowling at the back of the innings helped restrict the innings to a decent total of 151/9. Dinesh Nakrani (2/20), Henry Ssenyondo (2/25), and Vice-Captain Deus Muhumuza (2/29) were the pick of the bowlers.

In the chase, Uganda failed to pace their innings well as they were quickly reduced to 14/2 inside 2 overs. By the end of the first power play, they had only 29 runs. Riazat Shah (31) and Saud Islam (61) did the repair work with a 51 run partnership but they left a lot of work to be done at the back end of the innings, in the end, falling short by 22 runs.

I want to congratulate my team on the win today. We did execute our plans well especially Irfan Karim who held the innings well together at the top. We thought as a team that if we get 145 runs on this kind of wicket we would be in business. So we are glad to pick the win and it give us perspective for the rest of series. We are taking the T20 games very serious and we shall always put out our best XI because ICC ranking points are at stake.

David Obuya, Kenyan Team Head Coach

We are definetly disappointed with the result today. We didn’t back ourselves well either with the ball or bat. We were a bit slow getting out of the blocks in the chase and we weren’t tidy enough on a dificult wicket. All credit to the Kenyans who executed their game plans well. Saud Islam also batted very well for us and that is credit to him. We focus on the next games because we want to use the series to work on our game plans for the qualifiers in Kigali.

Laurence Mahatlane, Cricket Cranes Head Coach

Uganda and Kenya will be back in action tomorrow as they take on Nigeria at the Entebbe Cricket Oval.

Denis has represented Uganda in international cricket events including the World Cup. He is currently the captain of Wanderers Cricket Club.

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