Uganda defend ACA T20 title  

Uganda won the second running of the tournament, defending their title from 2022

Uganda celebrate winning the 2023 ACA Africa T20 Cup

Uganda secured back-to-back ACA Africa T20 Cup titles, after a comfortable win over Kenya in the final. The Cricket Cranes won by 91 runs, bowling out Kenya for 95 in a defence of 186/8, securing their title defence after winning the inaugural tournament in 2022.

Despite the sizeable margin of victory in the final, the tournament was not plain sailing for the Ugandans, who arrived as strong favourites after their qualification for the T20 World Cup. In the opening game, Rwanda defeated Uganda, defending 115 to win by two runs. It was Rwanda’s first T20I win over Uganda, following 17 consecutive wins for the Cranes over the previous four years.

Uganda fought back to win their other two group games, against Mozambique and Malawi, to secure a place in the semi-finals. But the win on the opening day was as good as it got for Rwanda, who lost to both Malawi and Mozambique by significant margins and finished bottom of their group. Malawi beat Mozambique to secure 2nd in the group, behind Uganda.

Group B was dominated by Kenya, winning all three games and each by a comfortable margin. The other three teams in the group – Sierra Leone, Botswana, and Ghana – were left to scrap over 2nd place. Each team won one game each, with Botswana beating Ghana, Sierra Leone beating Botswana and then Ghana beating Sierra Leone, leaving each team tied on two points each. Botswana qualified for the semi-finals with a superior net run rate.

The first semi-final saw Uganda crush Botswana, bowling out the Botswanans for only 62, and completing the chase inside six overs, without loosing a wicket. The second semi-final saw Kenya face Malawi. Kenya, batting first, scored 138/7 off 20 overs, before the game was interrupted by rain. Malawi’s innings was reduced to 5 overs, with a target of 44. Malawi fell 5 runs short, finishing with 39/2, sending Kenya to the final.

Botswana defeated Malawi for 3rd place, before Uganda took on Kenya in the final. Winning the toss, Kenya opted to bowl, but despite three wickets in the powerplay, could not control the flow of runs. Robinson Obuya top scored with 57, and late hitting from Bilal Hassun helped Uganda to a total of 186/8.

In reply, Kenya struggled for runs in the powerplay, and when Henry Ssenyondo took three wickets in the 9th over to make it 47/5, the game was all but sealed. Bilal Hassun took three wickets in the 16th over to wrap up the tail, Kenya all out for only 95.

Kenya’s Irfan Karim topped the run charts with 126 across 5 matches, whilst Henry Ssenyondo led the wicket tally for Uganda with 16. Across the tournament, all eight teams won at least once and lost at least once, demonstrating the competitive nature and unpredictability that has defined African cricket in the T20I era.

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