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May 31, 2007
Uganda will be confident of putting the seal on the latest stage of their much-publicised progress up the world rankings when they meet Argentina in the final of the World Cricket League Division Three in Darwin on Saturday.
While Uganda were expected to make the final, Argentina have proved the surprise package, especially considering that they lost their opening game to outsiders Italy. They squeezed through the group stages and then beat the fancied Cayman Islands in the semi-finals.
Joel Olweny, Uganda's captain, said that, despite his side's unbeaten record in the tournament, his team remained wary of Argentina's capabilities. "We respect Argentina as opponents because by qualifying for the final they've proved that they deserve to be where they are," he said. "And we're aware about their progress to the final so we won't take them lightly and will try to be as clinical as possible."
Uganda go into the game as the favourites, and they have far more experience. Six of their squad played in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup, and the team also participated in the 2005 ICC Trophy "It's all about clicking together and producing a match-winning performance as we are neither short of experience at this level nor quality," said Olweny. "I'm hoping that the batsmen will rise to the occasion and carry forward the good work done by the bowlers and fielders."
Argentina's strength has been its bowling, with three of their team - Estaban MacDermott, Gary Savage and Diego Lord - in the top ten wicket takers.
MacDermott said he hoped his bowlers will try to exploit any potential weaknesses in Uganda's batting line up. "Our bowlers are in form and their batsmen are struggling. So it's a straightforward strategy, I guess. But they have the experience of playing in big tournaments and have the ability to bounce back anytime," he said. "We'll give it our best shot in the final as we have nothing to lose. We have qualified for Division 2 and if we manage to win the final, it would be a perfect icing on the cake."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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