Rwanda, Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria register wins on day one of T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier

Diane Bimenyimana © ICC

Immaculee Muhawenimana’s career-best figures, Namibia’s thrilling last-ball win over Uganda, Sierra Leone’s admirable fight against Nigeria, and Botswana’s massive 195-run victory over debutants Eswatini highlighted Day one of the ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers on Thursday (September 9).

In the first match of the Qualifiers at Botswana Cricket Association Oval 1 in Gaborone, Rwanda won the toss and decided to bowl first against Mozambique. Muhawenimana, playing her 20th T20I for Rwanda, struck with her first legal delivery of the match to remove Mozambique opener Olga Matsolo. Mozambique did not quite recover from the wobbly start as they lost six more wickets by the end of the power play.

Muhawenimana bowled three overs and only conceded six runs and struck four times as Mozambique registered their lowest ever total in the format. In reply, Rwanda were able to chase down the total in just the third over of the innings with all ten wickets in hand.

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At the Botswana Cricket Association Oval 2, Uganda opted to field against the strong Namibian side. It looked like a great decision as Namibia lost both openers – Adri van der Merwe and Sune Wittmann – in the first two overs. From the precarious position of two for two in the second over, Kayleen Green and Yasmeen Khan fought their way back in the power play to post 31 runs. The pair added 46 runs in a vital partnership before Khan was dismissed by Stephani Nampiina.

Captain Irene van Zyl replaced Khan at the crease as Green changed gears for Namibia. She reached her second half-century in international cricket off 46 balls and took Namibia to a respectable total. Van Zyl and Green shared a partnership of 53 runs off which Green contributed 33 runs. By the end of the innings, Green remained unbeaten on 54 to help Namibia to 105 for four in 20 overs.

In reply, Uganda were rocked early when Wilka Mwatile bowled Racheal Ntono with her first ball of the tournament for just two runs. Uganda did not lose any more wickets in the power play but they were pegged back by the experienced bowling of Wittmann and Mwatile. With dot ball pressure building on Uganda’s batters, Namibia’s captain van Zyl introduced her trump card Sylvia Shihepo immediately after the power play and she dismissed Rita Musamali for just nine runs.

Immaculate Nakisuuyi fought hard for her side but she could not get any help from the other end other than Esther Iloku who scored 22 runs. Wittmann struck twice in the penultimate over to bring down the resistance of Uganda and Mwatile kept her cool in the final over to lead Namibia over the line as they won their first match of the tournament by just four runs.

In the third match of the day, Botswana won the toss and decided to bat first against the Eswatini side who were playing their first-ever international match. For the hosts, Florence Samanyika and Olebogeng Batisani put up a clinic against the inexperienced side as they put an opening partnership of 81 runs in just nine overs. Shameelah Mosweu at three blasted 56 runs off just 31 balls before she was retired hurt.

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Batisani smashed 77 runs that included eight boundaries was bowled in the final over of the innings as Botswana put massive 224 for two in their 20 overs. Eswatini were also guilty of leaking extras as they gave away 59 extra runs in the innings. The chase never got going for Eswatini as they were bowled for 29 runs in 15 overs. For Botswana, Botsogo Mpedi took three wickets each and Amantle Mokgotlhe chipped in with two wickets.

The final match of the day was played between Sierra Leone and Nigeria at the Botswana Cricket Association Oval 2. Sierra Leone, playing their first T20I since May 2019 won the toss and decided to bat first. Apart from the partnership of 28 runs between Aminata Kamara and Fatu Pessima, none of the Sierra Leone batters could make an impact. Janet Kowa’s quick 14 runs off 12 balls at the end made sure Sierra Leone goes past 100 runs in the first innings.

Nigeria started well in the chase as the opening pair of Esther Sandy and Kehinde Abdulquadri scored 23 runs inside the power play. Ann Marie Kamara broke this partnership when she bowled Abdulquadri for 11 runs in the fourth over. Salome Sunday followed her captain back to the pavilion without adding much to the total, but Blessing Etim and Omonye Asika slowly and steadily took control of the chase as they added 35 runs to the total and Nigeria chased down the modest target in the 16th over.

Brief Scores

Mozambique 17 all out in 7.3 overs (Ofelia Moiane 3; Immaculee Muhawenimana 4/6) lost to Rwanda 18/0 in 2.1 overs (Sarah Uwera 7*, Gisele Ishimwe 6*) by 10 wickets

Namibia 105/4 in 20 overs (Kayleen Green 54*, Yasmeen Khan 25; Stephani Nampiina 1/15) beat Uganda 101/7 in 20 overs (Immaculate Nakisuuyi 36, Esther Iloku 22; Sune Wittmann 2/11) by four runs

Botswana 224/2 in 20 overs (Olebogeng Batisani 77, Shameelah Mosweu 56; Nombuso Khumalo 1/33) beat Eswatini 29 all out in 15 overs (Mbali Dlamini 6, Phindo Dlamini 6; Botsogo Mpedi 3/1) by 195 runs

Sierra Leone 102/9 in 20 overs (Aminata Kamara 28, Janet Kowa 14; Joy Efosa 2/15) lost to Nigeria 103/5 in 16 overs (Blessing Etim 27, Omonye Asika 11; Fatu Pessima 2/25) by five wickets