b>Uganda 55 for 3 (Kayondo 13, Watkins 1-3) v Jersey 126 for 3 (Stevens 66, Mohammed Irfan 4-26, Hassan 3-21)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Coach Steve Tikolo and captain Roger Mukasa are stoic after rain denied Uganda victory © Peter Della Penna
The World Cricket League has already thrown up its fair share of drama in the first half of 2018, beginning with the miracle that was Nepal’s 51-run tenth-wicket stand on the last day of group play to beat Canada at Division Two in Namibia. On Saturday in suburban Kuala Lumpur, the heavens opened up for a different kind of miracle to save Jersey and deny Uganda promotion.
Having already sat through a two-hour delay in the ninth over that reduced Uganda’s original target from 127 to 105 off 35 overs, Riazat Ali Shah had just clubbed the fourth ball of the 20th over through wide long-on for four to put Uganda on 55 for 3, four runs ahead of the DLS par score for 20 overs. But as the ball bounced over the ropes, another storm that had closed in on the ground in the previous over let loose with heavy rain, forcing the umpires to take the players off the field 80 minutes before the official cut-off time of 5:45 pm. Even though the shower lasted only 20 minutes, it was enough to render the bowlers’ run-ups unplayable.
The umpires took a final inspection at 5:05 pm before waving Uganda captain Roger Mukasa and his Jersey counterpart Charles Perchard out to deliver the news. The pair shook hands, Mukasa waved his hands apart while Perchard gestured a throat slash. Both gestures were met with silence from their respective camps before a full handshake line commenced with Uganda frustrated and Jersey relieved. Under the tournament rules, the match will be replayed from ball one on Sunday, with the playoff round scrapped and turned into a reserve day as league matches take precedence in determining promotion and relegation.
Had they been able to complete two more balls, Uganda would have clinched promotion to WCL Division Three later this year while Jersey would have stayed in Division Four. However, thanks to Denmark’s loss to Vanuatu at Kinrara Academy Oval, where play went on uninterrupted just 16 miles northwest of UKM-YSD Oval in Bangi, Jersey can sleep on the knowledge that a win over Uganda in Sunday’s replay could see them overtake Denmark on the net run rate tie-breaker for promotion. Uganda, however, remain firm favourites to move up regardless of a win or loss.
The rain spoiled another brilliant performance from Mohammed Irfan, who took the new ball and ripped through Jersey’s top order to leave them 36 for 5 during an unbroken 10-over spell of spin after Uganda sent Jersey in at the toss. Whether it was defending on the front foot (Peter Gough), back foot (Nick Ferraby), charging down the pitch (Jonty Jenner) or sweeping from the crease (Harrison Carlyon), Irfan found all sorts of ways to defeat the Jersey batsmen to claim 4 for 26.
First-drop allrounder Ben Stevens held firm in the face of Irfan’s assault, building a 92-ball 66 that prevented Jersey from crumbling altogether and helped drag the innings out to 42.2 overs. Irfan’s new-ball medium-pace partner Bilal Hassan then returned to rip through the tail as Jersey were dismissed for 126.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
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