First T20I: Nambia 135 for 3 (14.5 overs): Erasmus 62* (36), du Preez 29* (25, Nakrani 1-22, Kyewuta 1-34) defeated Uganda 134 for 5 (20): Patel 35* (37), Kayondo 28 (29), Shikongo 2-24, Scholtz 1-20) by seven wickets with 31 balls remaining.
The first T20 International between the Eagles of Namibia and Cricket Cranes of this men’s series went according to script with the hosts dominant in a seven wicket win. The Eagles laid down the marker led with captain Gerhard Erasmus leading from the front with an unbeaten half century.
Uganda won the toss at Wanderers and chose to bat. Captain Arnold Otwani opened the batting with Roger Mukasa and together they put on a valiant opening stand of 40, but once Roger Mukasa played on for a well structured 26 the Cricket Cranes adopted a low-risk strategy as their innings developed.
Hamu Kayondo (28) and Ronak Patel (35) scored double figures but were very tentative in their approach with a late cameo from Riazat Ali Shah (23) providing some fireworks to the scoring.
The Cranes could only manage a modest 135 for five in their 20 overs, a score that looked short by about 20 runs on a flat Wanderers deck. Youngster Ben Shikongo (2/24) was the stand out performer with ball in hand for the Eagles who were also very sharp in the field despite shelling a couple of straight forward chances during the innings.
In the chase the hosts wasted no time in imposing themselves racing to 40 in five overs despite losing two wickets. Gerhard Erasmus (62*) and debutant Nicol Loftie-Eaton (18) combined well early on before the skipper took the bull by the horns to shoulder the run scoring burden with support from Michiel du Pereez (29).
Maybe if Frank Nsubuga had held onto a chance given by Erasmus on 4 it could have been a different script. The right-hander was also let off the hook by Roger Mukasa on 27, but from there on Erasmus was a man on a mission spraying the ball to all corners of the Wanderers park. Some poor fielding by Uganda also let them down as they missed chances that would have helped them apply some pressure on the Namibia batting line up.
In the end, the hosts won comfortably by seven wickets in the first of three T20 International games. The teams will meet again on Monday when they play two T20 games at the same venue.
SUPPORT EMERGING CRICKET BY BECOMING AN EC PATRON!