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Uganda faces Argentina in ICC World Cricket League final in Darwin on Saturday

Uganda will be aiming to finish unbeaten in the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 when it faces an ever-improving Argentina in the final in Darwin, Australia, on Saturday.

On way to the final, Uganda beat Hong Kong by 90 runs, Tanzania by four wickets, and the Cayman Islands by 26 runs before being stretched to the limits by Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the semi-finals where the African side edged home by one wicket.

Now, however, Uganda faces Argentina which has made a sensational comeback in the tournament after losing its opening game to Italy by one wicket.

With every match, Argentina has shown itself to going from strength to strength. It beat PNG by five wickets and Fiji by 10 wickets before recording a comfortable four-wicket win over the Cayman Islands in the semi-finals.

Uganda captain Joel Olweny said that, despite its unbeaten record so far in the tournament, his team remained wary of Argentina's capabilities.

"We respect Argentina as opponents because by qualifying for the final they have proved that they deserve to be where they are," he said.

"And we are aware about their progress to the final so we will not take them lightly and will try to be as clinical as possible."

The African side is far more experienced than its South American opponents having played in the ICC Trophy in 2005. Six of its players (Arthur Kyobe, Raymond Otim, Patrick Ochan, Charles Waiswa, Roland Semanda and Roger Mukasa) also appeared in last year's ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka.

Uganda is also coached by Sam Walusimbi, an opening batsman who played for East Africa in the ICC Cricket World Cup in England in 1975.

"It is 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 am hoping that the batsmen will rise to the occasion and carry forward the good work done by the bowlers and fielders," he said.

The Uganda captain said he was unconcerned by the fact his team has yet to play at the Gardens, the venue of Saturday's final.

"We have not played there but rather than worrying about the conditions there, we are targeting a score of around 250 if we get an opportunity to bat first," he said.

Argentina's strength in this tournament has been its bowling. Among the top 10 leading wicket-takers, there are three Argentineans - captain Esteban MacDermott (nine), Gary Savage (eight) and Diego Lord (seven).

Papua New Guinea's Jamie Brazier leads the field with 11 wickets, followed by Uganda's Charles Waiswa with 10.

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 will 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."

Teams:
Uganda (from): Joel Olweny (captain), Nand Niran Patel, Keneth Kamyuka, Frank Nsubuga, Arthur Kyobe, Raymond Otim, Lawrence Sematimba, Patrick Ochan, Junior Kwebiha, Charles Waiswa, Ronald Semanda, Jimmy Okello, Richard Okia, Benjamin Musoke, Roger Mukasa

Argentina (from): Esteban MacDermott (captain), Carlos Gibson, Pablo Ryan, Diego Lord, Martin Siri, Donald Forrester, Esteban Nino, Alejandro Ferguson, Pablo Ferguson, Lucas Paterlini, Matias Paterlini, Pedro Bruno, Gary Savage, Grant Dugmore

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.