Abel, Abuga shine as Kenya register a comprehensive 25-run win against Rwanda
A brilliant opening partnership from Queentor Abel and Veronica Abuga, followed by some tight spin-bowling, helped Kenya trump Rwanda by 25 runs in their final league match of the Kwibuka T20 Tournament. With this win, Kenya moved to second place in the points table and will face the hosts again in the semi-final on Friday (June 11).
After opting to bat, Kenya openers Abel and Abuga got them off to a steady start. Confident of their game plan, both the openers were happy to defend the good deliveries. However, they did not hesitate to go after the bowling when they got the slightest of width or if the ball was a tad too fuller.
Together, they added 41 runs in the batting power play. Once the field spread out, the duo was happy to pick up singles and kept the scorecard moving.
Among the two, Abuga was the aggressor, taking calculated risks to pick up occasional boundaries. She did not miss to throw her hands at anything that was full and outside the off-stump, particularly against the seamers. When the spinners came on, she was happy to chip them over the inner circle as they did not provide enough pace for her to go after them.
Abel, at the other end, was more than happy to play second fiddle to her partner. Rwanda bowlers, especially the seamers Immaculee Muhawenimana and Josiane Nyirankundineza, were expensive with the extras, bowling 14 wides and a no-ball. As a result, both Abel and Abuga were able to anchor the innings without the pressue of moving the score forward.
Kenya were cruising at 100 for no less after 16 overs with both the openers were closing in on their respective half-centuries. Just when it seemed like they were running away with the game, Abuga got out trying to hit Henriette Ishimwe over the long-on boundary. She fell three runs short of her fifty.
Walking in at number three, Kenya skipper Margaret Ngoche smashed a quick 12 off eight balls before getting out to Henriette. The seamer also got rid of Sharon Juma the same over. Kenya finished the innings with 129 for three after 20 overs. Abel remained not out till the end, scoring 47 runs from 55 balls.
Chasing six and a half runs an over, Rwanda lost Delphine Mukarurangwa early on as she nudged one back into the hands of Melvin Idambo. After watching Rwanda bowl in the first innings, Ngoche adapted to the conditions and used spinners in the power play, denying any sort of pace for the batters.
Henriette, who came in at three, hit a boundary before getting out to Abel. Rwanda were struggling at 25 for two after six overs. With Abel and Melvin bowling in tandem, the hosts were not able to score those much-needed boundaries to keep them in the chase.
While the other opener Sifa Ingabire chipped one back to Abel, Gisele Ishimwe got caught in a mix-up and was ran out by Sarah Wetoto. At the halfway mark, Rwanda were stuttering at 44 for four. Cathia Uwamahoro and Marie Diane Bimenyimana tried to revive the innings as they slowly built a partnership.
They added 34 runs in 37 balls before the former got stumped trying to go after Esther Wachira. She made 19 from 20 balls. With the required run-rate climbing up, the Rwanda batters tried to take on the bowlers. However, the Kenya spinners were tight in their lines and lengths and hardly bowled any extras.
Bimenyimana fell shortly after to Lavendah Idambo, scoring 37-ball 31. Lavendah also dismissed Flora Irakoze in the penultimate over for just two runs. Rwanda scrapped their way to 104 for seven by the end of the innings. Abel and Lavendah were the picks of the bowlers for Kenya taking two wickets apiece for 17 runs.
Brief scores: Kenya: 129/3 in 20 overs (Veronica Abuga 47, Queentor Abel 47; Henriette Ishimwe 3/22) beat Rwanda: 104/7 in 20 overs ( Marie Diane Bimenyimana 31; Queentor Abel 2/17) by 25 runs POTM: Queentor Abel