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Match Analysis

Nsubuga's bowling, not his age, takes him into the record books

The 43-year old offspinner bowled a tidy spell to give Uganda their first-ever win in the T20 World Cup

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
06-Jun-2024
Three steps, a slight jump, a roll of the arms, front toe pointing towards the batter, and a release point slightly away from his ears. Frank Nsubuga , the 43-year-old offspinner, has admittedly bowled with the same action for 27 years. It also gave him a dream start to the T20 World Cup 2024.
Nsubuga bowled the most economical spell (min. four overs) in T20 World Cup history, with figures of 4-2-4-2. His spell helped Uganda to their first win at the T20 World Cup, against Papua New Guinea in Guyana.
"I think the action is still the same," Nsubaga said. "That's how I started. I haven't changed my action. I have seen so many coaches, but they haven't changed me. The wicket was a little bit slow. This one was a little low. It is all about keeping your length and focus straight, trying to bowl wicket-to-wicket. Just keep it simple."
Coming on to bowl in the ninth over, he gave away just two runs in his first over. He then bowled a wicket-maiden over, in which he removed Charles Amini with a delivery that slid right through the charging batter. In the first ball of his next over, he fired one full on middle and leg and pinned Hiri Hiri, who came down the track, in front. By the time his spell ended, PNG were 56 for 6 and Uganda were on top of things.
Uganda captain Brian Masaba, bowling in tandem with Nsubaga, also finished strong with 1 for 17 in four overs. Masaba was all praise for Nsubaga, calling him a "special" player.
"What can I say about Frank that hasn't been said already? I mean, he's a special guy," Masaba said. "I watched Frank play growing up, so to see him do what he does on the biggest stage makes me very emotional. To be there to witness it, I don't quite have the words. He deserves it.
"We know how good he is, how good he's been over the years and the amount of work he has taken to stay that consistent. It's incredible. So, for him to come out, I'm not surprised that he did what he did, but doing it at this stage, that's very, very special."

'To the fans, thank you very much'

Masaba - who was also at the non-striker's end when the winning runs were scored - also said Uganda were an improved side in their second outing following their tournament-opening loss to Afghanistan.
"When you think about [comparing] it from the other day, we got our plans right," Masaba said. "Our execution was much better... the ability to adjust very quickly to the conditions. I am super proud of the bowling unit. They set up the game for us.
"Being there at the end was very special for me as well, probably my most important zero not out, but yeah very special because big night for Uganda cricket and I was there to witness it."
Uganda also owed this win to a 35-run stand between Riazat Ali Shah and Juma Miyagi, who came together when they were 26 for 5. Masaba said that the pair keeping their nerves at that stage was crucial.
"When you are three-down early, chasing a low score, we know how it can be. It was a real scrap out there. Every run they scored was very important and kudos to them for keeping their heads down and doing the job for their teams.
Masaba also dedicated the win to the fans back home in Uganda.
"We have a pretty special group of fans, who travel all around the world and support us. I don't think they came expecting a win in the World Cup but this is the least we can do for them. I hope they feel as special as we do. There is a huge following back home. They stay up till 3:30 or 4:30 in the morning, it is not easy.
"We salute them and appreciate them. I have a couple of guys from my old school who have threatened my life if I don't give them regards live on TV. To the fans, thank you very much and keep bringing the support."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84