The Baby Cricket Cranes were close to their first win at the U-19 Cricket World Cup in West Indies in their first plate match against the UAE.

Uganda lost all its group games against Ireland, South Africa, and India and couldn’t progress to the top 8. The top 2 teams in each group progressed to the top 8, and the bottom two teams dropped down to the plate event. Uganda and Ireland dropped down to the plate while India and South Africa progressed to the main event.

In their first match in the plate yesterday, Uganda came up against the Emirates. Uganda won the toss and went against their normal routine of bowling first and chose to bat first. Uganda started strong as Ronald Opio and Fahad Mutagana were solid in the opening stand but the introduction of spin by the Emirates boys changed the complexion of the match.

Uganda failed to deal with the spin, losing wickets in regular intervals with only Ronald Lutaaya (25), Pascal Murungi (23), and Cyrus Kakuru (17) making meaningful contributions as they folded for 123 all out in 38.4 overs.

In the chase for UAE, Uganda had read the script well and enforced the spin option. Matthew Musingunzi (3/21) and Joseph Baguma (3/29) made it difficult for UAE to chase down the score as Uganda also kept picking wickets.

However, a rare guard effort ensured that UAE get over the line barely and win by one wicket, a loss that dashes Uganda’s chances of automatically qualifying for the next World Cup in 2024.

It’s, however, not the end of the World Cup for Uganda as they will have to play two more placement games before they leave the West Indies.

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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