By Victor Kanayo
The International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Uganda is effectively into the business end even before the coveted semi-final stage scheduled for Saturday, November 16, 2023.
The allure of going to play in the Middle East and possibly at the main event in September next year in the sub-continent – Bangladesh – is surreal, with each of the teams fancying their chances.
Matchday Four and Five of the event had intermittent rains hovering over the lakeside Entebbe Cricket Oval but they only lasted for a short while as cricket reigned supreme with all four matches completed.
Two Group A teams; Zimbabwe and Tanzania have sealed their places in the last four with Uganda having one foot in the coveted stage in Group B, that remains largely open with both Namibia and Nigeria still with a chance.
Female Yellow Greens Up Game
On Matchday four, Nigeria all-rounder Peculiar Agboya, made the difference for her side to stay alive with a three-run win over Rwanda courtesy of Duckworth, Lewis & Stern (DLS) Method.
In what is emerging as one of the continent’s fastest-rising rivalries, Nigeria and Rwanda engaged in a thrilling encounter during Game seven, lifting the spirits on a damp and cold morning.
Both teams, coming off defeats in their opening matches, faced a critical win-or-bust clash. Notably, this was the first time these friendly foes competed on neutral ground, having previously battled in Gahanga, Kigali, Abuja and Lagos.
Despite Rwanda’s higher global ranking at 25, just five places above the Female Yellow Greens, the two squads were evenly matched on paper.
The second clash on Matchday four saw a collective team effort literally push Uganda into the semifinals after they secured a 4-wicket triumph over Namibia in Group B.
Uganda remain unbeaten and lead Group B with four points but cannot afford to rest on their laurels when they take on Nigeria in the last group tie on Thursday afternoon with the group still mathematically open.
Kenya Avoid Relegation
Matchday five came with its own trials and tribulations with the four Group A teams in the fray.
In a crucial Game 9 that marked the end of their campaign, Kenya secured a 20-run victory against Botswana via the DLS Method, effectively avoiding relegation to the Africa Division II.
This triumph served as a perfect consolation for Kenya, who arrived in the Pearl of Africa as the Division II champions but faced challenges due to significant changes in their squad, with many senior players replaced by rookies.
Botswana will now return to the second division, aiming to regroup and make a strong comeback in future qualifiers.
Zimbabwe Reign Supreme
In the group’s battle for supremacy, Zimbabwe asserted their dominance with an emphatic 9-wicket victory over previously unbeaten rivals, Tanzania.
The Lady Chevrons, who had already secured a spot in the semifinals, delivered a ruthless and clinical performance, showcasing their prowess in both bowling and batting departments.
The victory confirmed Zimbabwe’s status as the top team in Group A, securing bragging rights and sending a strong message to their potential semi-final opponents.