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BW’s Benoni Bronze

Kitso Ramono

Men’s cricket team bag third place in Africa Cup

Botswana men’s cricket team secured a brilliant bronze at the ACA T20 Africa Cup in Benoni, South Africa on Tuesday, beating Malawi in a last-ball thriller.

Now in its second edition, the eight-nation tournament ran from 11 – 19 December, with the Baggy Blues drawn in Group B with Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Despite two losses, they scrapped through to the semis thanks to a convincing victory over the Ghanaians in their opening match, progressing on net run rate (a bit like goal difference in football!).

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Captain Karabo Motlhakane, who was named player of the series after his exploits with the bat, including a match-winning knock of 84 against Ghana, and his men were destroyed in the last four by eventual winners, the defending champions Uganda. Having bowled Botswana out for a paltry 62, the Ugandans reached their target in just 5.2 overs without losing a single wicket (back to the football reference, that’s a bit like losing 10 – 0!).

BW bounced back well in the losers final; with the scores tied, Reynier Swart swatted the last ball for four to win the match ( a last second winner in football).

Despite the third-place finish, which was one better than the local lads managed at last year’s inaugural event, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA), Vice-President (VP), Sumod Damodar was far from happy.

“Though we finished third this year, the run-up to that was not impressive at all, as we won fewer games than last year,” raged Damodar, who noted two wins from five games was nothing to get carried away about.

If the VP was unimpressed with the men’s performance, heaven knows what he made of the women’s effort at the just-ended ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers in Uganda.

Having qualified for the competition on home ground back in September, the Herons were hammered in East Africa, losing all three of their games by big margins.

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Zimbabwe, who Bots had the misfortune of meeting in the group, went on to win the comp, comfortably beating Uganda in the final. Both will now compete (at a venue still to be announced) in the final stage of the World Cup qualifiers, against the likes of Sri Lanka, Scotland, UAE and Ireland early next year.

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