A small step closer

Kitso Ramono

Herons progress to Division 1 Africa WC Qualifiers

Despite suffering a hiding against Kenya in last Friday’s final in Gaborone, Botswana’s Ladies cricketers have progressed to Division 1 of the Africa World Cup T20 Qualifiers.

The Herons moved a tiny step closer to booking an unlikely spot at the showpiece cricket event in Bangladesh next year, battling to a second place finish on home ground in Division 2.

For the local ladies, the week-long tournament ended exactly as it began: with a dismal defeat to the Kenyans.

However, there were plenty of positives in between for captain, Laura Mophakedi and her young team.

As well as thrashing Lesotho by a jaw-dropping 173-run margin, the highs included nail-biting victories over first Malawi (by just five runs) in the group stages followed by semi-final success over Sierra Leone.

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Batting first, BW managed a respectable 131 before bowling superbly to restrict the West Africans to 114/5 in their 20 overs, a result that confirmed their promotion.

The Herons were blown away by Kenya’s pace attack in the final though, skittled for 52 (one less than they managed against the Kenyans in the opening match), with Ester Wachira’s women needing just 8.1 overs to reach the target, losing a single wicket in the process.

Reflecting on what was ultimately a positive week’s cricket in the capital, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Vice Chairman, Sumod Damodar, said he was proud of the ladies’ resilience in bouncing back from the heavy opening-day defeat.

“The fact that the girls started on a negative note by losing to Kenya and then showed great determination to make amends and still went on to achieve what they had set for themselves, which is qualifying for the Division One championship, shows growth and hard work,” declared Damodar.

Going forward, he admitted the women have much to work on if they are to be competitive at the Division 1 Africa WC qualifiers set for Uganda from 7 – 18 December.

As well as the hosts and the Kenyans, the daunting Division includes: Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

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The top two will then qualify for the final round of qualifiers early next year, where the likes of: Ireland, Sri Lanka, Scotland, UAE and the Americans will be waiting!

To stand even half a chance, Damodar told Voice Sport that BCA are looking at organising international training camps, to get the players accustomed to playing outside of Botswana.

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