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.
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.
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.
A number of headline-grabbing performances have lit up the first three days of the Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier 👇https://t.co/R8onl0u7BT— ICC (@ICC) September 12, 2021
Group B saw Namibia press their claim as frontrunners, posting 125/7 before restricting Nigeria to just 66/7 in their 20.
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.
In Sunday’s Group A action, Botswana floundered in a sterner test against Zimbabwe, who posted 113/5 before Loryn Phiri’s good form continued as her 5/6 helped skittle the hosts for just 31. Rwanda meanwhile trounced the hapless Eswatini by 185 runs, with opener Giselle Ishimwe thumping 114* (69) out of 204/5. Margueritte Vumiliya (4/0) grabbed four wickets in a single over to wipe out the tail as Eswatini slumped to just 19 in 9 overs.
Group B witnessed a remarkable performance from Cameroon seam bowler Maeva Douma, who grabbed an astonishing four Mankads. Uganda were not overly hindered by the record though as they sailed to 190/6; Rita Musumali topscored with 59 (40). In response, Concy Aweko (3/4) tore through the middle order as she claimed her second career hat-trick and joined Lasith Malinga in becoming the second player with two T20I hat-tricks. Cameroon were bundled out for just 35.
Preparations ✅— Cricket Thailand (@ThailandCricket) September 5, 2021
Stage Set 👌
It's a matter of few hours before we witness the LIVE action from 🏟️ Potchefstroom 👏 👏 @OfficialCSA Emerging women Vs @ThailandCricket Women#THWvSAEW #LetsGoThailand #Potchefstroom #Gameday #Women #Cricket #SouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/KP33pIg72w
Across the continent in South Africa, and Thailand’s preparatory tour continued ahead of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier starting in November. Currently in Potchefstroom, the Thai ladies are playing a five-match one-day series against a South African Emerging side, with the series locked up at 2-2.
The hosts saw off a Nattaya Boochatham special in the first match, with Thailand’s star offspinner (and ICC women’s player of the month for August) grabbing 5/21 as they were bowled out for 192. But the batters couldn’t back up as they lost regular wickets and fell away to 147 in 41.2 overs.
The next two matches were Thailand’s as the red-hot bat of Natthakan Chantham carried them home - she scored 113 (141) to take them to 277/6 in the second match (ably supported by wicketkeeper Nannapat Koncharoenkai’s 78 off 79), before Boochatham again led the bowling with 4/29 to dismiss the hosts for 208 in 46.3 overs.
Match 3 saw Chantham again in fine form, this time guiding the pursuit of South Africa Emerging’s 240 (Boochatham once more the pick of the bowlers with 3/45). She struck 120 (126), again allying with Koncharoenkai (64 off 97), for a 181-run stand. Thailand suffered a brief wobble as they neared the finish line, but reached the target with 5 wickets and 8 balls to spare.
SA Emerging Women won by 23 Runs— Cricket Thailand (@ThailandCricket) September 11, 2021
Thailand Women 231 for 8 off 50 Overs
( Chaiwai 80 , Natthakan 42 ; Tucker 3/ 37)
SA Emerging Women 254 for 8 off 50 Overs
( Steyn 79, Nicole 50; Suleeporn 3/66)
Scorecard - https://t.co/nkj9hs7Hmz
Streaming - https://t.co/hOJVMSCnAw pic.twitter.com/iT495FPO3B
The fourth game swung back to the hosts, who posted 254/8 in their 50 (thanks largely to Andrie Steyn’s 79 off 95); leg-spinner Suleeporn Laomi was expensive but got breakthroughs with 3/66 in her 10. The Thai chase started steadily with Chantham’s 42 in 65 deliveries, but regular wickets pegged back the run rate and they were unable to pick up momentum in the middle overs. Skipper Naruemol Chaiwai battled gamely with 80 (104), but she left herself too much to do and the tourists faded to 231/8 in their quota.
And over in Europe, Spain’s men claimed a 2-1 home T20I series win against Germany at the Desert Springs facility in Almería. Germany got off to a winning start on Friday, with Spain restricted to 128/7 in their 20 overs before Talha Khan’s 51* (44) guided the chase home with 7 wickets and 11 balls to spare.
Spain came back on the Saturday morning though, as Charlie Rumistrzewicz claimed 2/8 on his Spanish debut to help restrict the tourists to 115/9. Opener Awais Ahmed carried the chase for Spain with 47 (29), and the hosts reached victory 5 wickets down in 18.1 overs.
Terrific entertainment today from @cricketespana & @Cricket_Germany Twists and turns all day with Spain finally victorious in the last over by one wicket Well done both teams #ICCRankings #cricket #testcricket #spain #sport #T20WorldCup #europeancricket #leaguecricket pic.twitter.com/s5Ho9v0jvt— DesertSpringsCricket (@DSCricketSpain) September 11, 2021
The decider was a thriller, with the hosts edging it by a single wicket in 19.4 overs. Rumistrzewicz was again in fine for as he scalped 3/15 and kept Germany to 119/9, before Hamza Dar (59* off 50) held his nerve watching wickets tumble at the other end and hit the winning runs with two balls to spare.
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