Kenya and Uganda both won twice on day two of the ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Kigali on Thursday, as the competition for the top slot got a lot more interesting.
Day one leaders Tanzania slumped to a pair of defeats, but it was Kenya – with two eight-wicket victories – and Uganda who stood up strongly.
Uganda first beat Tanzania in the morning game, chasing down 141 comfortably. Tanzania had scored 140 for eight in 20 overs, with Kassim Nassoro’s 34 and Abhik Patwa (30) doing their level best for the cause.
In response, Uganda made light work of the target, with Ronak Patel (68 not out) and Simon Ssesazi (52) both making fluent half-centuries to see them home.
In their afternoon game, Uganda were again impressive, as they took down Nigeria with ease. Riazat Ali Shah was the star, as he took four for 12 with the ball, as well as two catches in the field. To top that off, he scored a slick 23 not out to see his side home.
Nigeria had made 112 for nine batting first, with only Ashmit Shreshta (28) and Peter Aho (24) contributing.
In their chase, Uganda got home with 22 balls to spare, thanks to Patel (35 off 35 balls) and Ssesazi adding a quick 25.
Kenya, meanwhile, had the pleasure of watching Alex Obanda obliterate 103 not out from just 56 balls, as they overwhelmed Nigeria by eight wickets.
The Yellow Greens scored 130 for six, having lost two wickets in the first over of the match. Sesan Adedeji aided the recovery with 46 from 50 balls, while Isaac Okpe struck a breezy 25 from 14 balls at the death.
The loss of Gurdeep Singh to the first ball of the innings gave Nigeria hope, but none of that mattered as Obanda took the match by the scruff of its neck. He plundered eight sixes and nine fours, scoring the vast majority of the runs in the process.
In their second win of the day, Kenya comfortably chased down the target set by Tanzania. They first bowled out the opposition for 101, with Kassim Nassoro’s 42 from 31 balls the only meaningful contribution to the total, after two wickets fell in the very first over of the match. Vraj Patel helped himself to three for 17 in the middling overs.
In the chase, Rushab Patel (24), Obanda (22 from 11 balls) and Collins Obuya (28) all chipped in to see the East Africans home with 7.3 overs to spare.
The action continues on Saturday with Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania all in with a chance to secure the sole spot for Africa in the Global Qualifiers.
Uganda face Tanzania at Gahanga in the morning while Nigeria battle Kenya at IPRC.
The East African derby takes centre stage in the afternoon at Gahanga in what promises to be an intriguing finale to the tournament.
They each need 2 wins from the remaining two matches, with Tanzania needing to beat Uganda in the morning and hope that Uganda down Kenya in the afternoon.
Scores in brief:
Tanzania v Uganda
Tanzania 140 for eight in 20 overs (K Nassaro 34, A Patwa 30, B Hassan three for 22)
Uganda 141 for two in 18.2 overs (R Patel 68 not out, S Ssesazi 52)
Uganda won by eight wickets
Kenya v Nigeria
Nigeria 130 for six in 20 overs (S Adedeji 46, I Okpe 25)
Kenya 136 for two in 13.4 overs ( A Obanda 103 not out)
Kenya won by 8 wickets
Kenya v Tanzania
Tanzania 101 all out on 17 overs ( K Nassaro 42, V Patel three for 17)
Kenya 104 for three in 12.3 overs ( C Obuya 28, R Patel 22)
Kenya won by seven wickets
Nigeria v Uganda
Nigeria 112 for nine in 20 overs (A Shreshta 28, P Aho 24, R Shah four for 12)
Uganda 114 for two in 16.2 overs (R Patel 35, S Ssesazi 25)
Uganda won by eight wickets