Cricket Cranes held their nerve in a low-scoring game to close out a tight six-run win against fierce Neighbours Kenya in the finals of the Pearl of Africa T20 series.

Credit: John Batanudde

The Cricket Cranes came into the finals as the confident side having collected the most wins in the group games. Uganda had won one and lost the other Kenya but in a final, form counts for nothing.

Saud Islam Credit: John Batanudde

Uganda won the toss and elected to bat first. Saud Islam (26) and Simon Ssesazi (21) put on 35 for the opening pair but there was no meaningful partnership later on to build the innings and only Ronak Patel (27) put in a decent shift with the hosts struggling to put together 120/9 in their 20 overs.

In response, Kenya got out of the blocks fast, scoring at a rate of 10 runs every over, the ideal approach for small totals.

Gurdeep Bhagat Singh Credit: John Batanudde

However, the departure of Gurdeep Bhagat (44) who was the aggressor slowed the chase down giving the Cricket Cranes an opportunity to push the game to the end.

Bilal Hassun was the hero for the Cricket Cranes, in the end, managing to defend eight runs in the final over giving away only two.

The series has been used by Coach Laurene Mahatlane to give opportunities for some of his fringe players to test international cricket in preparation for the Africa T20 finals in Kigali Rwanda next month.

Debutant Simon Sesesazi, Bilal Hassun, Saud Islam, Frank Akankwasa, and Henry Ssenyondo are some of the players who have put their hands up when the team needed them most.

Deus Muhumuza took over the captaincy of the team after the first T20 when regular captain Brian Masaba got injured.

Lawrence Mhatlane and Deus Muhumuza Credit: John Batanudde

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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