By Innocent Ndawula
ICC U-19 AFRICA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
Results - Game 5
Uganda 211 for 9 in 50 overs (Ismail Munir 73* off 120, Cosmos Kyewuta 33 off 40, Simon Oketcho 33 off 63; Samuel Conteh 5/48 in 9 overs) beat Sierra Leone 136 all out in 39.3 overs (George Ngegba 34 off 38, Eric Turay 32 off 64; Frank Akankwasa 4/22 in 10, Zephaniah Arinaitwe 2/17 in 7 overs, Ismail Munir 2/30 in 5 overs) by 75 runs
Man of Match: Ismail Munir of Uganda
Results - Game 6
Nigeria 201 for 4 in 50 overs (Olanyika Olaleye 73 off 105, Sylvester Okpe 55* off 72, Sulaimon Runsewe 41 off 67; Hashit Vekaria 2/35 in 8 overs) beat Kenya 143 for 9 in 50 overs (Shukan Mehta 26 off 71, Sukhdeep Singh 21 off 38; Emmanuel Boniface 2/26 in 10 overs, Isaac Danladi 2/30 in 10 overs) by 58 runs
Man of Match: Olanyika Olaleye of Nigeria
Results - Game 7
Namibia 296 for 7 in 50 overs (Ramon Wilmot 132 off 122, Dian Neethling 49 off 60; Aahil Jasani 3/50 in 10 overs) beat Tanzania 46 all out in 19.1 overs (Salimini Saidi 13 off 50; Mauritius Valentine Ngupita 4/12 in 4.1 overs, Jan-Izak de Villiers 3/8 in 5 overs) by 250 runs
Man of Match: Ramon Wilmot of Namibia
STANDINGS AFTER ROUND II
M W L T N/R Pts
Uganda Under-19s 2 2 0 0 0 4
Nigeria Under-19s 2 2 0 0 0 4
Sierra Leone Under-19s 2 1 1 0 0 2
Namibia Under-19s 2 1 1 0 0 2
Kenya Under-19s 2 0 2 0 0 0
Tanzania Under-19s 2 0 2 0 0 0
*NR denotes No Result, T for Tie or Draw
Tuesday, March 19: Rest Day
Wednesday, March 20 – 10.30am
Kenya vs. Tanzania, Wanderers Cricket Ground
Nigeria vs. Uganda, Windhoek Affies Park
Namibia vs. Sierra Leone, United Ground
Name: Ismail Munir Age: 13 years Class: P7 Vacist From East Kololo Primary School. You can read that again over and over.
Many a time we have been told; ‘Age is just a number, one is as old as they think they are.”
Munir redefined that old English adage in detail with a gem of a display on the day to ensure Uganda didn’t go off the rails in their campaign to qualify for next year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.
Only one slot is available for the continent’s finest six; Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda; and it’s a surreal battle for survival here in Windhoek.
The P.7 Vacist was the difference as Uganda defeated Sierra Leone by 75 runs to stay unbeaten after two matches in the ongoing ICC U-19 Africa World Cup Qualifier on March 18.
Batting for 2 hours and 45 minutes in 41.5 overs, Munir played with maturity beyond his years for an unbeaten 73 runs off 120 balls - a knock that stunned both the Ugandan dugout and the opposition’s into deafening applause at the Wanderers Cricket Club - the home of cricket in Namibia.
Uganda was reeling at 29 for 4 in 8.1 overs when Munir, who batted at No.10 for his 18 not out against Kenya, walked in for his knock. He ground hard and suffered several muscle cramps and moments of excruciating dehydration under the searing heat conditions.
First he conjured up a 72-run fifth-wicket partnership with Simon Oketcho (33 off 63 balls) and then another 65-run stand for the eighth wicket with clean-hitter Cosmas Kyewuta (33 off 40) to help Uganda set 211 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in the allotted 50 overs.
Sport is beautiful as it offers many memorable moments. But Munir’s knock was something. A controlled innings comprising of an array of strokes and just four boundaries and two sixes. The juvenile didn’t bludgeon anything, he caressed the pace bowlers, milked the spinners and run for dear life at every opportunity for a quick single even after 45 overs.
In one phrase, Munir ‘died’ for the country - in an innings many people would pay top dollar to watch it replayed in real time.
Captain Frank Akankwasa, the Man of Match against Kenya, was the top bowler of the day with 4 for 22 in 10 overs. But by the time he finished his spell, Sierra Leone were still hopeful of pulling off the stiff.
Munir’s mighty show
But the 13-year-old refused to allow them a sniff at victory with two prize scalps of Sierra Leone’s pinch hitters Chernoh Bah (17 off 8 - 1 four & 1 six) and Osman Sankoh (10 off 16) who were looking to wreak havoc into Uganda’s tired bowling arsenal. Another two wickets from Zephaniah Arinaitwe sealed victory for Uganda as Sierra Leone got bowled out for 136 in 39.3 overs.
“I cannot believe this. I am so proud of myself,” said an exhausted Munir after the tense match, with the Man of Match plaque resting on chest.
“I want to thank my coach (Jackson Ogwang) for believing in me and teaching me to play like how I did. I am also delighted I have won for my country agame in my first competitive ICC tournament to ensure the World Cup dream stays alive. If I get selected again, I will work to continue improving.”
Coach Lawrence Ssematimba, too, quickly muted the celebration-talk as of now and insisted ‘there will be no party or special meal’ for the lads going into the free day.
No celebrations as yet
“Party?” the former Cricket Cranes wicketkeeper asked back when questioned whether the boys would be allowed any fizzling drinks and sweeteners.
“Party for what. The job is not yet done. We are not bowling well. We are not winning like we would like to do. We need to work like a well-oiled machine. It is important that we do the basics right. For now we will take the two wins but there are three finals left for us.”
The only real reward for Uganda after two days of tough cricket is a ‘priceless’ day but a humdinger of a clash awaits them against unbeaten Nigeria, who are the surprise package of the tournament, after outmuscling pre-tournament favourites Namibia on Sunday and Kenya in the last round of matches.