Having lost her captaincy earlier this year and suffered in a dip in form, it is easy to conclude that Kevin Awino only made the final Victoria Pearls squad for the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Gaborone, on the basis of her extraordinary wicket-keeping skills.
But after Uganda’s first choice opening batter Rachael Ntono struggled for form in the first two matches, the technical team sought to ring changes at the top and it was 24-year-old Awino, who volunteered to open the innings alongside Soroti-based rookie Proscovia Alako.
And Awino has been the difference for Uganda with the bat; first in the 155-run win against Cameroon on Sunday with a 37-ball 34 that helped Uganda reach 153 runs for 2 before she was dismissed.
But more importantly is her chanceless and unbeaten 36-ball knock of 39 runs as Uganda chased down the 86 runs set by Sierra Leone in 12.5 overs to cruise to an emphatic 9-wicket win at the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Oval I yesterday.
Turning back the clock
Previously demoted to a tail-ender, Awino was in good nick as she turned back the clock with crisp drives and powerful pulls in an innings that was littered with four boundaries.
“I am happy with my return to form. It took a bold decision from me when the chance was offered by the coaches,” said Awino, who is born and bred in Jinja.
“Being a former captain doesn’t make want to under deliver. It actually pumps me up because I want to show the new captain that I am willing to perform under her and ensure the country wins.”
All-rounder Rita Musamali was the perfect foil for Awino, after the slow bowlers; Stephanie Nampiina (3 for 18), Janet Mbabazi (2 for 15), skipper Immaculate Nakisuyi (2 for 16) and Concy Aweko (0 for 9) had done their bit, with an unbeaten knock off 33 runs off 28 balls, having walked on after Alako fell for 10 runs to take Victoria Pearls home with 43 balls remaining.
The result sealed Uganda’s progress to the semifinals where they’re poised to play Group A log leaders anAfrican queens Zimbabwe in Friday’s crunch semifinal clash. The winner of this 11-nation event will notch the lone qualification spot to the Global Qualifier in Harare 2022 and get a clearer roadmap view to the 2023 Women’s World Cup in South Africa.
ICC WOMEN’S T20WCAQ
Results - Yesterday
Sierra Leone 86/8 Uganda 87/1
Uganda won by 9 wickets
Tanzania 279/2 Eswatini 23/10
Tanzania won by 256 runs
Fixture – Today
Group A – BCA Oval 1
3.15pm: Sierra Leone vs. Cameroon
Fixtures - Tomorrow
Group B – BCA Oval 2
3.30pm: Rwanda vs. Zimbabwe
Group A – BCA Oval 1
10.15am: Mozambique vs. Eswatini
3.15pm: Tanzania vs. Botswana