The World T20 Africa B Qualifier saw Kenya chase down a mammoth score of 240.
The ICC World T20 Africa B Qualifier kicked off with a bang on Saturday, as Kenya managed to hold their nerve and chase down a mammoth 241-target against a gallant Uganda.
The new stadium in Kigali City, The Gahanga, was still settling itself for an intriguing tournament over the next week, but Uganda hit the ground running, as they rattled up 240 for just three wickets in their 20 overs.
Dinesh Nakrani did the damage, plundering 88 not out from just 42 balls, with six sixes and eight fours in his charge. At the other end, Riazat Ali Shah was just as brutal, with his 74 not out coming at an even quicker rate, off just 35 balls. The duo added a startling 167 in just 12.5 overs of batting together, on a pitch that played straight into the hands of the stroke-makers.
Kenya came into the tournament as favourites, and they were expected to have a response to the carnage that they had just been subjected to. Dhiren Gondaria took it upon himself as captain to do the business, and it was his 90 from 46 balls that took his side to the brink.
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and hosts Rwanda take part in a double round-robin format which will see the top two teams progress to the Africa Finals in 2019. #WT20QAfricaB @CricketUganda @CricketKenya pic.twitter.com/bqGbs8mDWp— Rwanda Cricket Association (@RwaCricketAssoc) July 6, 2018
He too was harsh on the Ugandan bowlers, with seven sixes and five fours flayed in his knock. But, when he fell with the score on 194 for four after 15.3 overs, there was still work to be done by the Kenyans.
Obanda (35) Collins Obuya (29) and R Patel (31) had already contributed to the cause, but there was a finishing job still left.
Uganda sensed that their 240 may yet be enough, and they would start the tournament with an upset. But they hadn’t reckoned with Shem Ngoche (25 not out from 11 balls), who held his nerve and spanked three sixes at the death to take his side home by four wickets, with three balls to spare in a quite remarkable match.
Uganda and Kenya will continue their ICC World T20 Africa B Qualifiers over the next week with a repeat fixture, as well as two games apiece against Rwanda and Tanzania.