JINJA S.S.S WINS THRILLING MEHTA PREMIER LEAGUE FINALS

PIONEER CC 81/6 in 20 overs; Prico Nakitende 22, Barbara Mukankusi 17, Christine  Birungi 2/6, Rita Musamali 1/19  lost to JINJA SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL 81/8 in 20 overs; Claire Mushakamba 17, Adong Dinah 13, Damalie Busingye 11, Nakitende Prico 2/13 Carol Namugenyi 1/11 by 7 runs in Super Over.

 Super Over; Jinja S.S.S 10/1 Adong Dinah 5(2), and Pioneer C.C 3/2 won by 7 runs.

 Stephanie’s sharp reflexes, Musamali’s line and length, Naigaga’s precious single and Dinah’s timely boundary stop Pioneer C.C juggernaut.

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The Mehta Premier League T20 final at Lugogo Cricket Oval on 6th December 2015 will be remembered for a thrilling final over and super over. Even the El Nino rains that have battered Lugogo oval tirelessly took a break to let this clash of two worthwhile gladiators take place at the great ‘colosseum’ and home of Ugandan cricket- Lugogo.

The last over; Six off Six balls, five off five, three off four, dot ball, three off three, Christine Birungi falls, Shubeika Naigaga walks in, 80/8, two off two!  Dot ball, One off One – game tied!!  Going into super over, Coach ‘Mugie’, coolest cat in town, been here many times before, crouched on the midwicket boundary, can still afford a smile, this is where he lives, pressure times and panic stations, he thrives off of it.

Even the rains blessed the occasion with a light shower to show respect to this enthralling tie as the Jinja S.S batswomen stepped out for the super over. 10 runs set and another Rita Musamali over to defend, Jinja S.S crowned champions, deservedly so, sharp in the field, quick and agile, solid batting techniques, rhythmic bowling actions and run-ups, it ended in the best way possible for the Jinja based team.

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Lugogo was bathed in beautiful sunshine and picturesque skyline

An opening 1st wicket stand of 34 between Mercy Lakisa 08(34) and Barbara Mukankusi 17(32) was too slow for T20 cricket, it came off 59 balls; half the balls available of the innings. T20 is a game that punishes lack of urgency in all departments; bowling fielding and batting; Prico’s intervention at the end was all too valuable.

The 2nd wicket partnership of Franklyn Najjumba 9(14) and Barbara then added 10 runs to the total before some urgency was put into the scoring by the 3rd wicket partnership of Franklyn and Prico Nakitende 22 (26) then who added 16 to carry the score to 58/3. Carol Namugenyi 09(09) and Prico then added 14 for the 4th wicket to set 81.

The fielding on the day from Jinja S.S was miserly, all around the wicket. They allowed Pioneer C.C only 4 boundaries in their innings and 66 runs off the bat. 15 of the 81 runs were extras.

Before the entirety of final over and super over drama, there is the tale of Stephanie Nampiina, fielding at point. Aided by her relatively small build and low center of gravity, Stephanie is a captain’s dream on the field, she was vaulting over the pitch from Point position to Point position as the overs changed hands, such is her importance in the position. I marvel at the fact that this is only her second year playing cricket.

Blessed with nimble feet, quick hands and great anticipation, thrice the Pioneer batswomen struck powerful cuts or back foot drives through that area and attempted to run, thrice she was on the ball in a lightning flash and firing back bullet throws at stump height into the wicket keeper Kevin Awino’s hands; Mercy Lakisa, Barbara Mukankusi and Lynnet Nakato 00(01) all tested her, and were found wanting.

Rita Musamali and Stephanie Nampiina combined in the 16th over to get the wicket of Franklyn Najjumba, one of the most destructive batswomen in T20 cricket, and that could have been the turning point of the game. The damage she may have inflicted on Jinja S.S bowling may easily have put the game out of reach.

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Jinja S.S.S celebrate run out of dangerous Mukanakusi for 17

Credit to the wicket keeper Kevin Awino, spotting her diamond studs in both ears as usual, she did not miss a single run out opportunity. To cap it, Franklyn Najjumba cut a Rita Musamali ball airily and Stephanie plucked it out of the dull grey skies. Pioneer C.C lost 6 wickets in setting 81, Stephanie was involved in four of them.

An opening stand of 31 runs off 50 balls; Rita Musamali 12 (26) and Damalie Busingye 11(22) began the run chase. Rita was bowled out going after Barbara’s spin bowling and Damalie was then caught and bowled by Prico Nakitende, two quick wickets derailed the runs chase leaving Jinja S.S 36/2 in 9 overs. Claire Mushakamba 17(21) who looked the most comfortable batswoman on the day and Stephanie Nampiina 2(6) then did some running repairs with a 10 run 3rd wicket partnership before Stephanie was caught by Barbara off Prico’s bowling. Dependable Wicketkeeper Kevin Awino 01(04) did not last long caught behind off the bowling of Majorie Nankyinga in the 13th over of the run chase.

In stepped Dinah Adong 13(13), and another key 4th wicket 9 run partnership pushed Jinja S.S to 58/5 before Claire was trapped L.B.W by Carol Namugenyi, 24 runs short of their target, 4 wickets in hand. Claire had walked in on the 8th over of the run chase, scored two boundaries in her 21 ball 17, departing in the 14th over

Dinah Adong’s crucial run a ball 13 at the end and the tail of Christine Birungi 06(16), and Gorret  Aleka 5(11) pushed the game to 79/8; at this point one of the most important runs of this Mehta Premier League 2015 was scored.

Shubeika Naigaga 1*(2) walked in to replace Christine Birungi with two balls to the end of the innings and her side two runs short of their target, she saw them home to tie it with Brenda Nabisalu 0*(0).

In the 9th over of the innings, exactly 2 balls into Prico’s fourth over, most fans thought it was a lost cause when star batswoman Damalie was caught, but the depth and fight of Jinja S.S was proved beyond any doubt, and they will be feared for this for a long time to come.

Towards the end of the Pioneer innings, Carol Namugenyi played a powerful cut through the point region which Christine let through, when she picked her ball at the boundary, her coach said in the politest of tones; “That is where I expect you to put in that extra effort”. He never seems to lose his cool.

They definitely listened, and the next shot in that region was chased down pulled back in half a meter short of the rope, back up fielder shot it back to wicket keeper in quick time; that extra effort called for paid off overall, that extra run could have been the winning run after all.

Adong Dinah returned in the super over to score a vital 5(2) runs and Stephanie 4(3) topped it off  before Prico and Carol were run out going after the total.

A thrilling final and great advertisement for the game of cricket, especially the Ladies game.

Big Left Hander’s Woman of Match: Stephanie Nampiina

The writer is sometimes a left arm spinner for Nile C.C

 

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