A sure cracker is on our cards as the Victoria Pearls of Uganda lock horns with Zimbabwe’s Lady Chevrons in the first semifinal of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa Qualifier at the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Oval I this morning.
The two adversaries are the top ranked nations at this 11-nation event whose champion will progress to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in Harare 2020. Uganda is ranked 18th in the world, six places below Zimbabwe.
But rankings have been literally rendered redundant at this showpiece as justified by 23rd ranked Namibia’s close 4-run win over Uganda last Thursday.
That loss meant that despite Uganda (6 points) recovering with three straight victories they could not surpass the unbeaten Capricorn Eagles in Group B who finished with 8 points.
Uganda’s team is without niggles and coach Suraj Karavadra hasn’t hidden his joy that his youthful side will be playing Zimbabwe in the semifinals and not finals.
“They are beatable. I have had a good look at them and I know that they don’t want to play us very often. In the semifinals, you can catch them napping but in a final, they will be sharper and guns blazing. For us it how we manage our processes and tactics. We are in a good place,” said Karavadra, who is itching to give the Ugandans something to cheer about in these tough pandemic times by evoking the memories of 2017 when the Victoria Pearls upstaged the Lady Chevrons to become African Queens and represented the continent at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in Netherlands 2018.
Uganda have enjoyed a two-day break during which they had an ice-bath and a couple of formal sessions and that rest could be the difference when the two coaches; Karavadra and Adam Chifo of Zimbabwe pit their wits against each other.
“We have a quality and big squad out here. We have to manage it well and give all of them some play time,” answered Chifo when questioned whether it’s the alleged injuries that had kept out skipper Mary-Anne Musonda, Chipo-Mugeri Tiripano and Nomvelo Sibanda on the sidelines in most the preliminary group matches here.
Both coaches have, however, sensibly refused to call the match in their favour with each concurring that a T20 knockout match can go either way especially when two quality sides exchange pleasantries.
The match offers a perfect platform for Uganda’s new skipper Immaculate Nakisuyi, keeper Kevin Awino, spinners; Consy Aweko and Stephanie Nampiina plus steady grafter Esther Iloku to add to their growing reputations as immensely talented players.
The game will be streamed live on ICC.TV at 10.15am.