Uganda played its first T20 international in 2019 in Kampala during a tournament that five players who are still part of the set-up now would want to forget.

The rain and gods were not with Uganda with most of their easy fixtures washed out while the swing matches were dry and in both, Uganda was on the wrong end of the result. Nigeria earned from that favour and actually went to the Global Qualifiers due to the banning of Zimbabwe.

However, the team is so different from then as Brian Masaba, Roger Mukasa, Henry Ssenyondo, Frank Nsubuga, and Riazat Ali Shah have racked up at least 50 T20 caps each for Uganda. The memories might be part of them but recent bias should be in the favour of the Cricket Cranes.

They have won at least 82% of their competitive games over the last three years no matter who has been put in front of them. They have played some high-quality cricket against Namibia, Hong Kong, Jersey, and Qatar in the recent past and in a one-off contest they have the skills to get them over the line when it’s required.

Robinson Obuya is a newcomer to the team in terms of playing at this level but the rest of the group will not be phased by the occasion. If the batting comes together especially Roger Mukasa and Simon Ssesazi showing interest, Riazat Ali Shah and Dinesh Nakrani should help consolidate a good start and convert it into a big total.

The only weak link for the team could be the lack of pace with Juma Miyagi and Cosmas Kyewuta missing but Masaba, the team leader, is a smart man and he will know how to get the best of his available resources. Frank Nsubuga is 43 but he is not showing any signs of slowing down but deep down he should know this could be his last real chance of a shot at the World Cup.

The Cricket Cranes will play six T20 matches in Zimbabwe against Takashinga the local champions in Zimbabwe as they fine-tune combinations before they head over to Namibia.

There are at least 11 places between 12th placed Namibia and Uganda in 23rd in the global rankings but numbers have proved to be deceptive in a contest that has even odds of winning or losing.

If Uganda can play to their full potential, especially in the big games against Zimbabwe and Namibia they can get a result in their favour and in return qualify for their first-ever men’s World Cup.

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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