Africa Cricket Association (ACA) Africa T20 Cup Challenge
FINAL: Uganda vs Tanzania
Tanzania 174/5 20 overs
Uganda 175/2 20 overs
Riazat Ali Shah 98 not out
Deus Muhumuza 50 not out
Uganda won by 8 wickets
Uganda has been crowned Champions of the inaugural ACA Africa T20 Cup Challenge after a convincing victory over Tanzania in South Africa, on Thursday evening.
The Cricket Cranes were excellent in a thrilling final at the Sahara Park Willmoore cricket stadium, thoroughly deserving of a hard-fought 8-wicket victory secured with two balls to spare.
Uganda won the toss and started with a defective fielding that saw Tanzania push on up to 174/5, courtesy of a cool batting partnership from their Captain Abhik Patwa and Ivan Selemani who returned 107 runs from a total of 78 balls.
The cranes would later put up a stellar chase in the second innings despite starting on a frustrating note when Centurion Simon Ssesazzi was forced off in the fourth over following a catch by Tanzania’s Akhil.
Uganda’s Captain Brian Masaba was trapped lbw by Harsheed Chorhan on the very first delivery before ending his partnership with Simon Ssesazzi and introducing Deus Muhumuza and Riazat Ali Shah who squeezed a victory out of the wicket.
Ali Shah struck a hexad of sixes and a quintet of fours but missed a century by just two runs (98 not out) while Deus returned a half-century (50 not out) and the duo was only limited by their crowning in the pulsating affair.
Tanzania defeated Botswana by four wickets as Uganda ramped over Kenya by three wickets in the semis, to reach the final.
In the group stages, Uganda posted comfortable wins against Botswana, Mozambique, and Ghana before almost losing it against well-known rivals Kenya in the semi-finals.
Unlike Uganda, Tanzania was barely threatened in the groups and displayed valiant maturity to beat Cameroon by 10 wickets with 73 balls left in their first game of the tournament.
This will be the sixth title victory for the cranes since the appointment of Lawrence Mahatlane as Head Coach in 2020.
The 46-year-old South African represents an incredible stint having won three Pearl of Africa series, two qualifiers last year, and now the inaugural Africa Cup.
“It started with the bowling, in the last four overs, Kyewuuta and Miyagi bowled really well to restrict them to 174, at one stage it looked like we could be chasing over 200.
“In the batting, Muhumuza and Riazat were special from the way they timed it, played it, and the decisions they made in terms of which boundaries to target.” Mahatlane said after the game.
Mahatlane has so far aligned with expectations since replacing Steve Likolo two years ago and is now set to negotiate a contract extension.
“We did bring a couple of youngsters, we left a couple of seniors back and a lot of people put up their hands so I am very glad where we are going as a country and as a team.” He said.