HURRICANES blitzed Blizzards in the four T20-match Uganda Women’s Elite League (UWEL) cricket series at Lugogo Oval, Kampala, from December 11-13.
By Denis Musali and Collin Macbeth.
Taking advantage of a five-day COVID-19 ‘window’ to stage the competition, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Aziz Damani-sponsored Hurricanes ran out 3-1 winners over their beleaguered Challengers opponents, who only on the last day rose to claim their moniker, Blizzards.
Wounded by a 10-wicket defeat on Friday (Dec 11), Blizzards showed more life on Saturday (Dec 12), failing by only eight runs to close down a 66-run target set by Hurricanes; but in the afternoon they again fell apart, losing by eight wickets.
Hurricanes captained by Immaculate Nakisuyi with in-form batter Racheal Ntono as her right-hand deputy, showed more organisation and passion than Blizzards, who had national women’s captain and wicketkeeper Kevin Awino at the helm.
While with Hurricanes most of the team appeared to feel they had a large part to play, producing some stunning catches, there was slovenliness among Awino’s crew that cost them dearly.
A trophy, and money for the Uganda Women’s Elite League, presented by UCA chief executive Martin Ondeko, sealed Hurricanes’ superiority in what was a brave attempt – despite or perhaps because of Covid-19 – to bring women’s cricket in Uganda back on track after their record-breaking ‘Best in Africa’ tag achieved in 2017.
Now the Lady Cricket Cranes will be setting their sights further afield; to the Africa Cricket Association (ACA) T20 competition in Botswana next October (2021), to the Commonwealth Games at Birmingham, England, in July 2022 – when women’s T20 cricket will be introduced for the first time – and to the Women’s 50-over World Cup that same year, with the Women’s T20 World Cup to follow the next year (2023).
Awino, still only 24, commented at the end of this successful display of opening the Covid ‘window’: ‘It’s been a long time. It was tough not playing for eight months, but we’ve come through.’ Opposing skipper Immaculate Nakisuyi said: ‘It was a challenging experience for me but I don’t want to be national team captain.’
Results: 1st T20: Blizzards 39 (Teddy Oyella 4-19), Hurricans 40/0 (Racheal (corr) Ntono 23 not out). Hurricanes won by 10 wickets.
2nd T20: Hurricanes 65 (Immaculate Nakisuyi 15, Janet Mbabazi 2-7), Blizzards 58/6 (Kevin Awino 12, Immaculate Nakisuyi 2-9). Hurricanes won by seven runs.
3rd T20: Blizzrds 52 (Janet Mbabazi 14, Concy Aweko 3-9), Hurricanes 54/2 (Racheal (corr) Ntono 20 not out, Sarah Walaza 2-11). Hurricanes won by eight wickets.
4th T20: Blizzards 60/9, Hurricanes 44. Blizzards won by 16 runs.
Teams: Blizzards: Leona Babirye, Jeniffer (corr) Nabwana, Janet Mbabazi, Kevin Awino ©, Stephanie Nampiina, Esther Kayaga, Irene Alumo, Franklyn Najjumba, Sarah Walaza, Brenda Nabisalu, Shukeik Nangaga. Hurricanes: Racheal (corr) Ntono, Clare Mushakamba, Shakirah Saddick, Janet Nakirondo, Maria Nyende, Christine Anayo, Immaculate Nakisuyi , Evelyn Anyipo, Patricia Malemikia, Concy Aweko, Teddy Oyella.
Individual Awards; Best wicketkeeper: Maria Nyende, Best fielder: Immaculate Nakisuyi, Best bowler: Christina Anayo, Best batter: Racheal (corr) Ntono (avg 24.5) Player of the series: Christine Anayo.
UWEL runners-up: (Challengers) Blizzards Inaugural UWEL champions: (Aziz Damani) Hurricanes
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