ICC Women’s T20 World Cup: African Regional Qualifier Heats Up As Teams Battle For Victories

ICC Women’s T20 World Cup: African Regional Qualifier Heats Up As Teams Battle For Victories

By Spy Uganda

The African regional qualifiers for the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup got underway this week, with Zimbabwe and Namibia making the early running.

Featuring eleven teams in an eleven-day bonanza of cricket, the hosts Botswana are joined by Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe in Group A, while Group B features Cameroon, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda. Botswana, Cameroon and Eswatini all made their debuts in ICC women’s events.

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The first day of competition on Thursday saw a pair of blowouts in Group A, with Rwanda thumping Mozambique by 10 wickets and 107 balls remaining. Immaculée Muhawenimana was the star for Rwanda with 4/6, as Mozambique were bundled out for just 17 before the target was polished off in the third over. Botswana made a real statement of intent in the second Group A match with a mammoth 224/2 in their 20 overs (Olebogeng Batisani top-scored with 77 off 66), before Eswatini crawled to 29 all out in the 15th over.

Over in Group B, Namibia claimed pole position with a hard-fought win over the higher-ranked Ugandans, who fell just 4 runs short. Kayleen Green’s 54* (49) was the difference, as she took Namibia to 105/4 in their 20 overs. The afternoon match saw Nigeria get off the mark against Sierra Leone, successfully chasing their target of 103 in 16 overs thanks to a steady hand of 27 (31) from Blessing Etim – who also bowled four tidy overs for 0/13.

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Day 2 on Friday was another dominant performance from Botswana in Group A, who thrashed Mozambique by 110 runs after posting 151/6. Amantle Mokgotlhe blasted 52* (24), but offspinner Shameelah Mosweu grabbed the plaudits with 6/3 to dismiss Mozambique for just 41. Zimbabwe meanwhile got off to a steady start with skipper Mary-Anne Musonda’s 52* (45) carrying them to a six-wicket win in 19 overs after Loryn Phiri’s 4/12 helped to dismiss Tanzania for 103 in 19.4 overs.

Group B saw Namibia press their claim as frontrunners,  posting 125/7 before restricting Nigeria to just 66/7 in their 20.

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Saturday’s third matchday highlighted again the gulf in experience between the higher-ranked sides and the stragglers, with Zimbabwe making short work of Eswatini and Tanzania demolishing Mozambique. Esther Mbofana, on debut for Zimbabwe, claimed her nation’s first 5-wicket haul and best-ever T20I bowling figures with 6/11 as Eswatini folded for 17. Then the batters knocked off the runs in just two overs.

Tanzania meanwhile cashed in against a wayward Mozambican bowling performance as Mwanaidi Swedy thrashed 87* (48) on debut to carry her team to 228/4, then stamped their authority with the ball to dismiss Mozambique for 28.

Uganda bounced back from their opening loss in Group B, with a clinical 43-run win over Nigeria – they posted 104/8 then bowled with discipline to choke the Nigerians for 61 in 14.5 overs.

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