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Cricket Cranes aim to fly over first World Cup qualifying hurdle

The ball is firmly in the Cricket Cranes’ court as they aim to reach the finals of the T20 Cricket World Cup for the first time in history.

Never too young to teach, never too old to learn they say; and certainly, the Cricket Cranes will take colossal lessons from their junior compatriots’ (the Baby Cricket Cranes) successful world cup quest.

While returning from Kigali after qualifying for the World Cup due next year in the West Indies, the Cricket Cranes offered they U19s a guard of honour.

A perfect show of gratitude and sportsmanship, but for coach Lawrence Mahatlane, he will be hoping that moment inspires his side as they get their qualifying campaign underway with the T20 Africa Qualifiers.

The Cricket Cranes will also be counting their luck as the tournament which counts as the first round will take place in Kigali between October 14-22.

In Kigali, Uganda will tussle against five other nations for the single slot available in the final qualifying round for Africa where Kenya and Nigeria await.

Uganda is in group A alongside hosts Rwanda, Malawi, Eswatini, Ghana, Seychelles and Lesotho. Mahatlane’s men are favourites to progress from the group with Rwanda and Ghana posing the biggest threat.

Uganda holds a clean run against their neighbours, but currently have former Cricket Cranes coach Martin Suji beneath their ranks and that might spring up a few surprises.

Ghana meanwhile beat Uganda by a single run in 2015, however, the last meeting between the two was comfortably won by the boys from the Pearl of Africa.

The Cricket Cranes start their campaign on October 16 against Malawi, facing Rwanda, Eswatini and Ghana before completing the group stage against Seychelles on October 22.

Mahatlane has made only two changes to the team that will challenge at the qualifiers from the one that were successful at the Pearl of Africa Series.

Offspinner Frank Nsubuga, who at 41-years-old is still going strong has been called up to the squad together with Richard Agamire replacing Arnold Otwani and Charles Waiswa.

Deus Muhumuza will yet again be entrusted with the arm band as captain Brian Masaba remains side lined with an injury.

Cricket Cranes squad:

Players: Deus Muhumuza (Captain), Ronak Patel, Simon Ssesazi, Dinesh Nakrani, Frank Akankwasa, Riazat Ali Shah, Kenneth Waiswa, Bilal Hassun, Frank Nsubuga, Saud Islam, Richard Agamire, Henry Ssenyondo, Fred Achelam (wicketkeeper), Gerald Mubiru

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