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Musonda powers Zimbabwe women to winning start

STAFF WRITER

Tanzania Women – 103 all out in 19.4 overs (Monica Pascal 42, Saum Mtae 20, Nasra Saidi 6; Loryn Phiri 4/12, Nomvelo Sibanda 2/11, Audrey Mazvishaya 1/12)

Zimbabwe Women – 104-4 in 19 overs (Mary-Anne Musonda 52*, Modester Mupachikwa 42, Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano 6; Nasra Saidi 2/9, Saum Mtae 1/10, Mwanaiddi Shakim 1/26)

Zimbabwe Women won by six wickets

Mary-Anne Musonda played a true captain’s innings with a fine unbeaten half-century that powered Zimbabwe Women to a six-wicket victory over Tanzania Women in their first match at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier Africa regional tournament in Botswana on Friday.

She scored 52 not out, including five boundaries, off 45 deliveries as her side reached their target of 104 runs with six balls to spare.

Tanzania won the toss and elected to bat in this game played at the Botswana Cricket Association Oval 1 in Gaborone, with Fatuma Kibasu and Saum Mtae opening their innings to the bowling of Nomvelo Sibanda and Josephine Nkomo.

In the third over, with 10 runs on the board, Sibanda struck as she had Kibasu (5) caught at the wicket by Chiedza Dhururu.

Mtae and Monica Pascal then strung up a 37-run stand for the second wicket which was only broken in the 11th over when Mtae was caught by Musonda off a delivery from Loryn Phiri to depart for 20.

Phiri was at it again in the 13th over, dismissing Hudaa Omary for two with a return catch that reduced Tanzania to 60 for three.

Yet Phiri was not done as yet: in her next over, she trapped Neema Pius lbw for two and off the very next delivery clean-bowled Mwanaiddi Shakim for a golden duck.

At 86 in the 17th over, Pascal’s resistance finally ended when she was dismissed by Nkomo, with Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano completing the catch, for 42 – she had faced 41 balls, with her impressive effort including three fours.

Audrey Mazvishaya, Precious Marange and Sibanda then wiped out the tail as Tanzania folded for 103 with two deliveries to go.

Phiri was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets for 12 runs off her four overs, while Sibanda claimed two scalps for 11 runs off 2.4 overs.

Zimbabwe opened their batting with the pair of Marange and Modester Mupachikwa, but the reply got off to false start when the former was given out lbw off the very first ball of the innings, the bowler being Nasra Saidi.

In the fifth over, they were down to nine for two after Saidi again bowled Mugeri-Tiripano for six.

However, Mupachikwa and Musonda steadily got the chase back on track with an 80-run partnership for the third wicket that was broken when Mupachikwa departed for 42, with three fours, in the 18th over.

Mupachikwa’s departure, having faced 54 balls, left Zimbabwe needing 15 runs from the remaining 16 deliveries.

Off the first ball of the 19th over, Nkomo was sent back to the change-room without getting off the mark.

But Musonda remained unfazed, scoring nine runs in the same over to reach her brilliant fifty and in the process taking her side across the line.

Zimbabwe and Tanzania are in Group A together with the hosts Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique and Rwanda.

Cameroon, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda make up Group B.

Only the winners of the 11-team regional competition will progress to the global qualifying contest for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 proper set to be played in South Africa.

Next up, Zimbabwe will face Eswatini, Botswana, Mozambique and Rwanda in the other group matches scheduled for 11, 12, 13 and 16 September respectively.

The semi-finals involving the top two teams from each group are set for 17 September, with the third-place playoff and final pencilled in for 19 September.