Riazat Ali Shah Lifts Cricket Cranes In Opener

Wednesday, November 22
Tanzania – 99/7 (20/20 ov)
Uganda – 105/2 (15.2/20 ov)
*Uganda won by 8 wickets


If there’s a name so dreaded by a Tanzanian in as far as cricket is concerned, it is Riazat Ali Shah!

The Tanzanians were saved the trouble of having to deal with that name at the East Africa Trophy in Rwanda in August as Riazat missed the tournament due to a minor injury, but on Wednesday as the Cricket Cranes took on their East African rivals in their opening ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier game at the Wanderers Ground in Namibia, there was no escape for the Tanzanians as they came face to face with their tormentor.

The Cricket Cranes bowled off the competition with the ball after team skipper Brian Masaba winning the toss. They squeezed life out of their opponents who managed only 99 runs, with 22 being the highest score for a Tanzanian batter.

Riazat off his four Overs bundled out two while conceding just 14 runs. But it is in the Ugandan innings that memories of the Africa Cup final in South Africa downed upon the Tanzanians.

In all fairness, 99 is a paltry score, but Tanzania backed themselves at the start of the innings and actually took control of the power play. Compared to Tanzania’s 28 after power play, Uganda only managed 21 at that stage, and by Over nine, opener Ronak Patel had gone for 15, his successor Roger Mukasa followed suit with 9 and Simon Ssesazi the other opening pair had accumulated just 4 runs.

Tanzania were in control at this stage, but when Mukasa made way for Riazat who singlehandedly tormented Tanzania at the finals of the Africa Cup last year, the fortunes changed! The sense of tranquility finally surfaced in the Ugandan camp as Rizu stabilized the innings.

Off 27 balls, Rizu scored 47 including a four and three sixes; his strike rate reading 174.There’s no reward for guessing who the Man of the Match award went to. Riazat’s introduction finally loosened Ssesazi who ended with 31 off 35.

Despite dragging what could’ve been an easy win, positives were picked in this games. Bilal Hassun seems to have carried his form to Namibia. Bilal, now the opener for the team started the wicket taking as early as the third Over.

Henry Senyondo one of the only three spinners of the team conceded just 11 runs in his 4 Overs, and took a wicket too.

Alpesh Ramjani is back to picking wickets. He got the most- three.

The win puts Uganda top of the table with a net run rate of 1.9. The Cricket Cranes will take a break on Thursday and will return to action on Friday against hosts Namibia in what will be a do or die game.

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