Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe turned in a handy all-round show to lead his side to a four-wicket win over USA on the first day of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE. Arinaitwe took 1 for 13 in his four-over spell of off-spin before calmly guiding digging Uganda out of trouble with 27 not out after they were 17 for 3 in seven overs chasing 124.
“The top of the order is something we need to look at very seriously right now,” USA captain Sushil Nadkarni said after the loss. “If you look back at that the past few games and this game it’s apparent that I’m in form right now hitting it well and I feel like I’m able to turn the strike pretty quick. The top two or three batters that bat with me, we need to look at the combinations going into the next game because it just feels like the guys are struggling a little bit to turn over the strike.”
USA won the toss and elected to bat first with Abhimanyu Rajp, Andy Mohammed and Gowkaran Roopnarine sitting out of the starting lineup. Nadkarni opened with Steven Taylor and both players stayed true to their form on tour. Taylor lasted nine balls before he was beaten by a full length delivery from medium pacer Charles Waiswa to be bowled for 1 with the score on 13 at the end of the third over.
Meanwhile, Nadkarni feasted on Uganda’s bowling attack, giving especially harsh treatment to medium pacer Deusdedit Muhumuza in the fifth over. Nadkarni teed off for two big sixes as part of a 16-run frame, one clubbed over midwicket that went over the roof out of the stadium and the next a lofted straight drive.
Vice-captain Aditya Mishra had joined Nadkarni at the fall of the first wicket and was timing the ball well but struggled to find gaps, routinely picking out fielders in the circle. He only contributed 7 runs in a 38-run stand with Nadkarni before running himself out. Mishra drove a ball straight to mid on and set off when there was no run and Arinaitwe alertly threw to the keeper to get rid of Mishra to make it 51/2 in nine overs.
Orlando Baker had his first low score on the week when he attempted a flick to midwicket against Arinaitwe and a leading edge popped up to Muhumuza at cover to get rid of Baker for 3 on the first ball of the 11th over. Nadkarni fell in the next over, bowled by the off-spin of Roger Mukasa for 38 off 33 to make it 58 for 4. During a five-over stretch from the ninth to the 13th over, USA scored just 15 runs.
Image (right) - Uganda captain Davis Arinaitwe accepts the Man of the Match award from ICC Match Referee Graeme Labrooy. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket]
Ryan Corns and Nauman Mustafa also could not get their strike rates above 100 in their brief stints at the crease. Corns got out for 10 in 12, out LBW to Mukasa after missing a paddle sweep. Mustafa didn’t fare much better, out for 13 in 19 driving Jonathan Sebanja to cover.
It was left to Adil Bhatti to breathe life back into USA’s innings. Coming in at number seven, Bhatti showed a nerveless display at the crease on his debut for the national team. He only had four dot balls in his knock, scoring 21 off 14 balls. He had two boundaries and a blistering six hit flat and hard straight down the ground off the bowling of Waiswa. USA was 77 for 6 after 16, but Bhatti was the catalyst for a late innings acceleration which saw USA take 11 each off the 17th and 18th overs and 12 each off the 19th and 20th.
Bhatti finally fell to Sebanja when he spooned a low full toss off the bottom of his bat to mid off to make it 103 for 7 with nine balls to go in the innings. Elmore Hutchinson and Usman Shuja picked up where Bhatti left off, scoring 11 off 5 and 8 not out off 5 respectively. Hutchinson was run out on the second last ball of the innings trying to steal a bye after Shuja swung and missed. Asif Khan came in and hit a boundary on his only delivery faced to take USA to 123 for 8.
The off-spin trio of Arinaitwe, Mukasa and Frank Nsubuga combined to bowl 12 overs for just 42 runs. Only one boundary was hit off them in 72 deliveries. Of the 120 legal deliveries in USA’s innings, 56 were dot balls.
Uganda’s chase got off to a rocky start, beginning with the runout of Mukasa for 1 on the second ball of the innings. Mukasa flicked a Shuja delivery off his legs to Hutchinson on the fine leg rope and took him on for a tight second. Hutchinson charged hard and fired a bullet to Mustafa who took off the bails in time.
After a maiden by Muhammad Ghous in the second, Corns came on for the third over and got Arthur Ziraba to chip one in the air to Khan on the long on boundary for an 8-ball duck to make it 6 for 2 in the third. Laurence Sematimba struggled to get the ball off the square and in frustration danced down for a heave at Khan, missing badly and was bowled for 4 to make it 16 for 3 after six overs.
Benjamin Musoke joined Arthur Kyobe at the crease and the pair started to generate momentum for Uganda, putting on 27 for the fourth wicket in 4.2 overs. Things really started to go wrong for USA in the 10th over bowled by Corns which went for 11 runs. Musoke was on 8 when he lofted the first ball of the over to Taylor at long on, who misjudged the ball badly running in when he should have stayed on the rope. He tried to correct himself and ran back to briefly latch onto the ball leaping in the air but had to let go as he was falling over the rope and it turned into two runs. Musoke then followed that with a pair of doubles, a boundary and a single to exacerbate the error. He got out in the next over though when he drove Bhatti’s second delivery to Hutchinson at long on to go for 17.
Another fielding miscue occurred three balls later when the new batsman Arinaitwe, on 1 at the time, drove to Mishra at extra cover in the circle. Mishra made a diving effort to his right and got two hands to the ball, but couldn’t cling onto the difficult chance.
Kyobe lasted until the 12th over when he scooped Ghous to Shuja at long on for 18 and it appeared USA had a decent chance for a win with Uganda needing 71 in 51 balls. However, Nsuguba came in and just as he had done in the field with Arinaitwe, the two put the pressure squarely back onto USA shoulders. While Arinaitwe calmly took singles on nearly every delivery to turn over the strike, Nsuguba turned his bat into a sledgehammer. Nsuguba had 14 off his first five deliveries and eventually finished with 30 off 19 in his 47-run stand with Arinaitwe. Nsuguba only had four dot balls in his innings, hitting two fours and two sixes. Arinaitwe stroked just one boundary, but only had a lone dot ball in his 27 not out off 23 balls.
“The areas that our bowlers bowled weren’t the best for keeping batsmen to eight runs an over,” said Nadkarni. “We were either too full or too short. They were looking for those big swings and we kept giving them loose balls. That’s an area we need to work on.”
Uganda scored 15 off the 13th over bowled by Bhatti, with Nsuguba doing most of the damage, and it changed the required run rate dramatically in Uganda’s favor with USA defending a small total. From there they eased their way towards the target with the only hiccup coming when Nsuguba scooped a leg stump delivery from Ghous to Corns at deep midwicket. Sebanja picked up where Nsuguba left off and with 8 needed to win off 7 balls, hit the last ball of the 19th over from Hutchinson over midwicket for six. Two singles to start the 20th over sealed the win for Uganda.
USA’s next match is against Italy on Wednesday from Abu Dhabi. Italy crushed Oman by nine wickets in their first match in Dubai. Oman was restricted to 89 for 9 in 20 overs with 19 extras as the top score. Carl Sandri took 4 for 9 in four overs opening the bowling. Michael Di Venuto and Peter Petricola made short work of the chase, knocking off the runs in 14 overs. Di Venuto finished 42 not out and Petricola was unbeaten on 39.
Live coverage of USA’s match against Italy from Abu Dhabi will start Wednesday at 1:45 a.m. EST. DreamCricket.com’s tournament coverage is made possible in part by the New Inning Foundation.