THE Zimbabwe women’s cricket team made a promising start to their campaign at the Pepsi ICC Women World Twenty20 Qualifiers after winning two of the three matches they have played so far in Benoni, South Africa.
On Saturday, Zimbabwe faced hosts South Africa Invitational XI in the morning match at the Sahara Willmore Park, and only managed to put up 88/7 in their allotted 20 overs.
Precious Marange top-scored with an unbeaten 25 and talismanic opener Chipo Mugeri chipped in with 19.
In response, South Africa Invitational XI were pushed all the way despite the low total, as they eventually reached the winning target after a hard fought 18 overs.
Andrie Steyn (25) and Nikita Sole (19) were the chief contributors with bat in hand in effecting a six-wicket win over their neighbors.
For Zimbabwe, Josephine Nkomo (3/13) and Christabel Chatonzwa performed well with the ball, but in the end, they did not have enough runs on the board to defend.
In the afternoon match, Zimbabwe came up against Kenya and they restricted them to 61/5 in 20 overs, with Esther Mbofana (1/10) and Audrey Mazvishaya (1/14) impressive with the ball.
Chasing a meagre total, Zimbabwe’s top order made light work of the run chase, finishing the game with as much as 9.4 overs to spare.
The stylish left-handed opener Ashley Ndiraya finished on an unbeaten 27, while Chipo Mugeri contributed 18 runs to defeat Kenya by a comprehensive nine wicket win.
On Sunday, Zimbabwe played one match against Uganda at the same venue.
Again, Uganda were suffocated by another clinical Zimbabwean bowling performance, eventually scrapping to 70/8 in 20 overs.
Only Naome Kayondo (13) had a score of some substance as the rest of the batting capitulated to Tasmeen Granger (3/18) and Esther Mbofana’s (2/11) class and precision with the ball.
In reply, Zimbabwe reached the target in 12.4 overs with the evergreen Chipo Mugeri finishing on an unbeaten 49 and Modester Mupachikwa (16) ensuring a 9-wicket victory.
A total of six teams namely Kenya, Namibia, South Africa Invitational XI, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe are taking part in the tournament where the winner qualifies for the ICC Global qualifiers in Thailand in July next year.
The top four teams at the Thailand qualifiers will proceed to the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament which will be held in India in March 2016.
With South Africa having already qualified for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament, Zimbabwe are bidding to qualify for the global Twenty20 showcase for the first time after finishing fifth in the 2013 Global qualifiers in Ireland.