By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe national women’s cricket team, put an impressive all-round performance with both bat and ball, to win the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Africa Qualifier, with a 52-run win over Namibia in the final at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Zimbabwe’s victory, ensured they qualified for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier, to be hosted by Scotland in September and the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, whose venue is yet to be decided.
Namibia won the toss and elected to field before restricting Zimbabwe to a modest 114 for five in their allotted 20 overs – their lowest total during the tournament ahead of Sunday’s final.
Former national team captain Sharne Mayers and Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano, top scored for Zimbabwe with identical scores of 36 although the latter needed just 28 balls compared to the former who reached her score at a slower rate from 36 balls.
Namibia, who had batted solidly during the group stages of the tournament would have fancied their chances of easily chasing down the hosts’ target and cause another upset after upstaging defending champions Uganda, earlier in the tournament.
The Lady Chevrons’ bowling department led by Anesu Mushangwe and Josephine Nkomo, who both claimed three wickets apiece, was clinical in defence of the team’s total to restrict the Namibians to 64 for nine in their allotted 20 overs.
Zimbabwe coach Adam Chifo was delighted with the victory, saying it was reward for the amount of dedication put in by the players in preparation for the qualifying tournament.
“Obviously it’s a good feeling, we are more than excited to have qualified,” Chifo told reporters after the match.
“We’ve come a long way. We’ve been preparing for this for quite some time, mentally, physically and tactically and I’m delighted it came out right. We are very happy for this win.”
Earlier Zimbabwe were given an early scare after being sent in to bat when opener Modester Mupachichwa was clean bowled in the fifth over after scoring just four runs from 16 balls with just 14 runs on the board for the hosts.
Crucially the experienced duo of Mayers and Mugeri-Tiripano stepped to rebuild the hosts’ innings although scoring was tougher compared to the previous matches.
The pair shared an important 66-run second wicket partnership which ensured the hosts posted a respectable total after losing wickets at regular intervals towards the end of their innings.
While it was the batting which set the platform for the win, the bowlers delivered the win and in devastating fashion too, after restricting the Namibian batswomen to just six boundaries during their innings while taking wickets at regular intervals.