Rwenzori Warriors’ Jonathan Ssebanja returned home with a bowling figure of three wickets for five runs, and though it won him a man-of-the-match award, he couldn’t stop Nile Knights from claiming the inaugural East Africa league title.

Nile Knights won the toss and put the Warriors in to set at Gymkhana grounds Saturday evening. Warriors set them a target of 90 runs which they chased and passed in 18 overs.

It was at a false start for Warriors when opening batsman Jeremy KibuukaMusoke (01) was sent back in the stands by Knights captain Davis Arinaitwe.

His replacements Arnold Otwani (00) and Ronald Ssemanda (07) all failed to put up some notable support.

Even when Abu Seguya (21) tried to push them forward with a decent figure, it was all blues as they struggled to reach 90 runs in the allotted 20 overs with a loss of 8 wickets.

Knights started the chase on a great footing with Arthur Kyobe hitting four boundaries and a six as he made a quick 29 runs before he was clean-bowled by Brian Masaba.

It was here that Ssebanja struck, claiming Kebba (06) who was caught by Brain Masaba, trapping Arthur Ziraba (00) leg before wicket and seeing off Fred Isabirye  (06) with just five runs.

But experienced Benjamin Musoke came in, and despite a muscle sprain, returned home with figures of (20* off 42 balls) including the big six that gave Knights the trophy and a sh20m cheque.

“Tomorrow is the big game we came for and we are ready for it,” said Knights captain Davis Arinaitwe after the win.

Sunday clash

DAVIS Arinaitwe said the Nile Knights side is aware of the challenge at hand in the East Africa Cricket Cup on Sunday. The Ugandan outfit is up against Kenya’s Kongonis at the Gymkhana ground in Nairobi.

Arinaitwe, one of the top players in Nile Knights, said the team is ready to face an experienced opposition and a partisan home crowd.

The Ugandan side is out to win the regional crown for the first time.

It has been a long wait for Arinaitwe, whose team eliminated countrymen Rwenzori Warriors on the last day of the preliminaries in October to storm the final.

Kongonis qualified for the final before Nile Knights. But today’s match was postponed twice after heavy rain made the surface unsuitable for action.

Nile Knights will miss all-rounder Frank Nsubuga, who has been invited to South Africa for a semi professional stint. The Ugandans are handled by former Kenyan international Martin Suji who knows Kongonis too well.

Suji’s experience will therefore be crucial for Nile Knights.

The coach has to come up with a strategy to contain experienced players like Kennedy and Davis Obuya who will link up with Dominic Wesonga, Emmanuel Dundi and Harish Vekaria.

Suji’s side also has Deusdedit Muhumuza, Asadu Seyiga and John Tumusiime who have performed well previously. They are expected to rise to the occasion once again.

East Africa Cricket League:

Rwenzori warriors 90/8, Nile Knights 96/5

(Nile Knights win by 5 wickets)

Today (Sunday): East Africa Cricket Cup final

Nile Knights (UGA) v Kongonis (KEN)

By Norman Katende, The New Vision

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