Cricket Cranes | Credit: John Batanudde

The Cricket Cranes had a mixed year. It could have been great but was only good given the high standards of the team.

The team had a shot at moving on to the next round of the qualifications for the 2023 50-Over World Cup but four losses from the 10 games ended that dream with Jersey coming from behind to take the one slot from the group.

It will be a while before 50-Over cricket is a priority for the Cricket Cranes and but that journey won some hearts and new fans while it lasted. The East African Derby against Kenya in Lugogo had a crowd that cricket had never seen before and the Cricket Cranes gave their fans something to smile about with an emphatic 5-wicket win.

Henry Ssenyondo and Frank Nsubuga | Credit: John Batanudde

There were lessons for the Cricket Cranes at the T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. The Cricket Cranes chopped down to size in the games against Netherlands and PNG even though they were able to compete against Jersey and Hong Kong. The team finished 5th out of 8 nations, failing to qualify for the 2022 T20 World Cup but must have left Bulawayo with a lot of lessons given that as the winner from the Africa region it was a clear sign that there is a lot of work to do for the team for them to catch up with some of the top associates.

The Cricket Cranes got their hands on silverware later in the year winning the Africa T20 Cup in a scintillating final against Tanzania. The games were all live on SuperSport which also gave a new following and audience for the Cricket Cranes. The team was in Kigali in December and won the T20 Tri-Nation tournament winning 9 games out of 12 with a largely new team.

The gains for the team were very many but they didn’t scale the heights they desired, players such as Emmanuel Hasahya, Cyrus Kakuru, Pascal Murungi, Juma Miyagi, Joseph Baguma and Ronald Lutaaya all came of age and got their chances with the senior team.

With senior players such as Deus Muhumuza, Fred Achellam, and Riazat Ali Shah long-term injury concerns, the work for Laurence Mahatlane is cut out for him. Next year, the team will make a maiden appearance at the All Africa Games in August and the Africa T20 Cup finals.

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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