While the general feeling was that Tornado Bees, the four-time National Cricket League defending champions, were going to coast through the second round, like they did the first round, relegation-bound Charity cricket club did the unthinkable.
Last Sunday, as the Bees opened their second round account in Entebbe, their 194/6 in 50 overs score was uncharacteristically bettered by Charity’s 195/5 in 38.5 overs.
Shocked, was an understatement of what the Bees felt. However, when you disturb a bee-hive, the reaction can be devastating, something Kutchi Tigers, whom they face this weekend must be concerned about. Bees’ all-rounder Deus Muhumuza is in no doubt they still have what it takes to win the league.
“It was really disappointing to lose our unbeaten run. The pressure is on. But we have to bounce back by hook or crook,” Muhumuza said.
Unbeaten in their seven first round fixtures, the Bees have been in pole position to make it five successive championships. But after the setback against Charity, Aziz Damani has seized pole now. Damani have won their two games in the second round and are on eight wins in nine games.
As Damani face bottom-of-the-table Patidar, the feel-good factor is certainly with them and they won’t relent. Damani also has a better net run-rate of 2.9 compared to the Bees’ 1.6.
If the two sides keep winning, a direct shoot-out between them, when they meet later in the season, will decide the destiny of the championship. But with Damani registering more bonus points from its wins, which has placed them on 49 points, 10 ahead of the Bees, the latter may have done themselves in already.
Bees’ Nicholas Kebba said they have put themselves in a difficult situation. He added that this only goes to show you how difficult it is to win this league. It will not be any easier against Kutchi, who have won their last three games.
Kutchi captain Alpesh Hirani said their first round loss to the Bees was quite controversial. And since they have strengthened in the second round, exacting revenge on Bees is something Kutchi intends to serve cold, but confidently.
JAZZ CRICKET LEAGUE
Sunday@10am: Aziz Damani v Patidar- Lugogo
Kutchi v Tornado Bees- Kyambogo
KICC v Nile- Entebbe