Credit: John Batanudde
  • Game 1: ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier
  • Uganda vs. Hong Kong
  • Bulawayo Athletic Club
  • Time: 14:00 EAT

Cricket Cranes’ T20 World Cup fate is in their hands as three good results from five games guarantee them a place at the 2022 global showpiece in Australia.

The team arrived in Bulawayo Saturday afternoon, set up camp at the magnificent Holiday Inn and will be looking at upsetting every odd against them to qualify for their first senior World Cup.

Uganda is the second lowest-ranked side at the tournament just three places above the USA but with the latter being an ODI nation, Uganda are the underdog tag holder.

Uganda will face a familiar foe Hong Kong in their opening game in the afternoon. The last time the two met was in Kampala during the Challenge League B tournament with Hong Kong picking up a 6-wicket win. However, in this particular format, the Cricket Cranes have been a surprise package and have set very high standards for themselves.

Uganda had the second-highest number of T20i wins in 2021 and they will not be pushovers in the Qualifiers. They have capable match-winners in Riazat Ali Shah and Dinesh Nakrani and the return of Bilal Hassun and Roger Mukasa adds more experience to the team.

Hong Kong is largely a team of experienced campaigners. They were recently an ODI nation and they will be a tricky customer. However, in a tournament where every game is a final, there won’t be any easy fixtures therefore all teams have to show up every day.

Two great results in the groups can get you into the semifinals and from there on everyone has a chance to go to the World Cup. The top sides that meet in the final will go to the World Cup from these qualifiers.

On very slow wickets, Uganda might opt to use mostly the spin options meaning of the three quick bowlers Bilal Hassun, Cosmas Kyweuta, and Juma Miyagi only one might be required with Henry Ssenyondo and Frank Nsubuga the go-to bowlers.

Roger Mukasa and Simon Ssesazi should be at the top of the order with the former eager to impress following his recall into the side. He comes into the side with a big reputation as someone who gets things moving quickly, especially inside the power play overs which should complement Simon Ssesazi who has made the opening slot his own.

There is a lot expected from Ronak Patel who knows how to mix aggression with precision and if a great platform is laid by the top, Riazat Ali Shah and Dinesh Nakrani have the ability to strike at a rate of more than at least 150 especially as the team pushes for a big total or is trying to chase down a total.

There will be no underdog in the whole tournament but the team that shows up should be able to carry the day.

In the other games, hosts Zimbabwe take on Singapore at Queens Cricket Club in the morning followed by the Netherlands taking on PNG in the afternoon. Jersey takes on the USA at Bulawayo Athletic Club in the morning.

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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