On a warm Wednesday night at the Providence Stadium in Guyana, Brian Masaba and his men etched their name in their nation’s history as Uganda secured their first-ever win in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

In a tightly contested match, Uganda defeated Papua New Guinea by three wickets in a low-scoring encounter. Regardless of the result, history was in the making as victory for either team would have been their first in the tournament.

However, it was the Cricket Cranes from East Africa that held their nerve against the Pacific Islanders in a crucial contest.

Both teams had suffered defeats in their opening matches and had an opportunity to secure two vital points, given their placement in a group alongside formidable opponents like Afghanistan, West Indies, and New Zealand.

While Papua New Guinea almost gave co-hosts West Indies a scare, Uganda were provided a reality check by Afghanistan. Chasing a target of 184 runs, they were dismissed for a mere 58.

Papua New Guinea had made their debut in the T20 World Cup in 2021 but lost all four matches. Meanwhile, Uganda’s senior men’s team were making their first World Cup appearance, across sport.

It was bound to be extraordinary.

“Pretty special win for us, first win at the World Cup,” said winning captain Masaba in the post-match presentation. “It doesn’t get more special than this. I’m super proud of this group of guys. I mean, they’ve put in the work, they’ve put in such a shift. And to get a win for their country at the World Cup is very, very special.”

He added: “It’s been quite a journey, three-four years of very hard work both by the players and the board back home to make this happen. Getting to the World Cup was very special, this is even more special.”

Uganda’s journey has been inspiring. It was illustrated in their dynamic playing style during the Africa Region Qualifier last year.

They made the cut for the T20 World Cup by defeating Rwanda in the final of the Qualifier but it was their five-wicket triumph over heavyweights Zimbabwe that really made them the team to watch out for.

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On Wednesday, opting to bat first, Papua New Guinea faced a batting collapse, managing only 77 runs in 19.1 overs. The foundation for Uganda’s victory was laid by a disciplined bowling effort led by Frank Nsubuga and Juma Miyagi.

Uganda encountered their own troubles in the pursuit of their first win as they lost four wickets in the powerplay alone. With Dinesh Nakrani also out for nought, Uganda were left stumbling for 26 for 5 in the seventh over.

However, Riazat Ali Shah and Juma Miyagi forged a crucial 35-run partnership comprising composed and cautious batting as they ultimately chased down the target in the 19th over to clinch the win.

While it was the twenty-somethings that took the team across in the second innings, it was the 43-year-old Franco Nsubuga that bowled the most economic over in the T20 World Cup history finishing with 2 wickets for 4 runs and 20 dot balls in 4 overs.

And in a way, it’s the coming together of these contrasting players that has underlined why Uganda has been able to make a mark.