Frank Nsubuga and Patrick Ochan produced brilliant all-round performances that helped Uganda beat Argentina by 91 runs and so secure the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 title in Darwin, Australia, on Saturday.
Nsubuga's 38-ball 55 cameo included four fours and two sixes and with Ochan slamming a whirlwind 56 off 34 balls with a four and four sixes, the pair helped lift Uganda from a precarious 79-7 to the riches of 241-8 in 50 overs.
The duo then returned to share seven wickets between them as the Argentineans were dismissed for 150 in 46.3 overs. Nsubuga had bowling figures of 10-1-27-4 while Ochan's analysis read 10-3-25-3.
Put into bat, Uganda was left reeling by Argentina captain Esteban MacDermott (3-56), later adjudged player of the tournament, before Nsubuga walked in and not only provided stability to the innings but also accelerated the scoring rate.
Nsubuga, named man of the match, put on 80 runs for the eighth wicket with wicketkeeper Lawrence Sematimba (39 not out off 76 balls). And after Nsubuga's departure, Ochan, who played in the last year's ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka, arrived to provide the a huge burst of late impetus to the innings by adding an unbroken 82 runs for the ninth wicket with Sematimba, who successfully played the sheet-anchor role.
Argentina made a steady start to its run-chase and reached 53-1 before losing three wickets for six runs to slump to 59-4. Donald Forrester (38) and wicketkeeper Alejandro Ferguson (41) then put their team back on track by sharing an 81-run stand for the fifth wicket to take the Argentineans to 140-4.
However, the departure of Forrester triggered a sensational collapse as the last six wickets fell for just 10 runs and the South Americans were sent crashing out for 150.
Uganda captain Joel Olweny said it has been a great week for his team but he was quick to set the players new targets.
"No doubt it has been a dream tournament for us. We came here aiming to qualify for Division 2 and are now returning with the title," said Olweny.
"But as this tournament finishes, the quest for the next begins and the target now is to finish in top four in Namibia in November and qualify for ICC Cricket World Cup qualifiers (in the United Arab Emirates in 2009).
"Undoubtedly, Nsubuga and Ochan are our heroes. Their contributions were crucial but what was important was the way they batted. Once we had 200 runs on the board, we knew we had the match because we are a better good bowling and fielding side," he said.
27 year-old Olweny said Uganda has plenty of cricketing talent.
"Some very exciting youngsters are coming up and I am sure they will make a very good name of themselves in years to come. It was all about providing us a programme from which the talent could be filtered and thrown at the highest level and that stage has been provided by the ICC development program," he said.
Argentina captain Esteban MacDermott said he was disappointed but still proud of his boys.
"I know we could have done better. We had our moments but since we are a new side we couldn't pounce on the opportunities that were provided to us," he said.
"This match has been a huge learning game for us and will surely help us prepare better next time.
"Nevertheless, I am proud of my boys. No one gave us a chance when we arrived here but these boys turned everything around and now people are talking about us. Cricket is developing in Argentina and I am optimistic that, in the near future, there will be some more quality cricketers representing the country," he said.
In the plate final, Papua New Guinea (PNG) defeated the Cayman Islands by 23 runs. Mahuru Dai scored an unbeaten 102 to steer PNG to 263-6. In turn, the Cayman Islands were restricted to 240-9.
Scores in brief:
At the Gardens, Uganda beat Argentina by 91 runs
Uganda 241-8 in 50 overs (P.Ochan 56, F.Nsubuga 55, L.Sematimba 39 not out, R.Otim 24, E.MacDermott 3-56, G.Savage 2-33)
Argentina 150 in 46.3 overs (A.ferguson 41, D.Forrester 38, M.Paterlini 23, F.Nsubuga 4-27, P.Ochan 3-25, K.Kamyuka 2-36)
At Marrara 2, PNG beat Cayman Islands by 23 runs
PNG 263-6 in 50 overs (Mahuru Dai 102 not out)
Cayman Islands 240-9 in 50 overs
5th and 6th place play-off
At Power Park, Hong Kong beat Tanzania by 129 runs
Hong Kong 242-6 in 50 overs (Rahul Sharma 85)
7th and 8th place play-off
At Nightcliff, Fiji lost to Italy by 6 wickets
Fiji 123 (T Kurukulasuriya 4-16)
Italy 124-4 in 33 overs (T Kurukulasuriya 51)
About ICC WCL Division 3
This tournament is the latest step on the road to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 for the eight sides (Argentina, the Cayman Islands, Fiji, Hong Kong, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Uganda) taking part. The top two sides in each of the two groups (Argentina, Italy, the Cayman Islands and Uganda) went forward to the semi-finals with the finalists, Argentina and Uganda, earning places in the ICC WCL Div. 2 in Windhoek, Namibia, in November.
A top-four finish there would mean a berth at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (formerly the ICC Trophy) in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 and with it the chance to secure a spot in the next ICC Cricket World Cup, on the Asian sub-continent in 2011.