MANICALAND’s women’s cricket ace and former Zimbabwe women’s cricket captain Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano who has been in consistent form throughout the International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Qualifier Africa 2019 that got underway in Harare on Sunday will be one of the instrumental players to look out for as Zimbabwe eyes to book its spot in the final against Namibia on Sunday.
The nine team qualifiers, Twenty-20 competition is serving not only as qualifiers for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup to be held in Australia in 2020, but will also help decide the participants in the next 50-over ICC Women’s World Cup to be staged in New Zealand in 2021.
Led by captain Mary-Anne Musonda, Zimbabwe’s option to field an experienced side paid off as they have recorded whitewash victories in all their group matches so far with only one more match left against Nigeria, which will be played tomorrow (Saturday) at Old Hararians Sports Club. However, only the most remarkable happenings can now prevent Zimbabwe from contesting the final after three outstanding victories and tomorrows group match will be more or less of a formality. Zimbabwe yesterday (Thursday) won against Rwanda by 82 runs. Rwanda was the main threat in the group as it was at par with the hosts with two victories to their credit (four points each). So dismissing the East African team fortified their chances of a spot in the final.
Veterans like Precious Marange, Sharne Mayers, Modester Mupachikwa and Anesu Mshangwe proved to be instrumental throughout the tournament. The Manicaland firebrand Mugeri-Tiripano who is married to national cricket team player and right-arm fast bowler Donald Tiripano would as usual consistently hit her six over midwickets, fours and runs came off almost every ball to prove how she is in a class of her own, but unfortunately failed to reach a half century as she usually does. This time, it is Mayers that is hogging the limelight with two half centuries in the matches against Mozambique and Tanzania.
Nonetheless, Muger-Tiripano continues to shine in the sport after she was last year in November selected to be part of the Women’s Global Development squad that played in the Women’s Big Bash league in Australia. The 26-year old top-order batswoman who has played 15one-day and 25 Twenty (20) matches on the international stage, together with talented wicketkeeper Mupachikwa took up two of the international places availed by the ICC for high performing players from outside the ICC Women’s Championship.
The hosts that are in Group A won matches against Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda, with one match left against Nigeria, whilst Namibia which is in Group B on Wednesday completed on top of its group which comprised of Uganda, Kenya and Sierra Leone. Old Hararians Sports Club and Takashinga Cricket Club were the venues for the group matches, with the final slated for Harare Sports Club.
Namibia booked its spot in the final on Wednesday after an effortless, overwhelming 10-wicket victory over Sierra Leone Sierra Leone that together with Mozambique in Group A, unfortunately ended the competition on a losing streak after succumbing defeats in all their matches. Namibia, as expected, had little difficulty in overcoming the inexperienced Sierra Leone team, and did so without losing a wicket after its left-arm medium-paced seamer Maryke Short’s bowling helped to restrict the Sierra Leoneans to 74 for eight wickets in their 20 overs. In Group B which completed its matches on Wednesday, Namibia therefore topped the group after their three victories for six points, followed by Uganda (4) after an exciting victory on Wednesday against Kenya, and Kenya (2), while Sierra Leone gained only experience with no points.
On the other hand in Group A, Tanzania that will pit Rwanda tomorrow (Saturday) at Takashinga will be the favourites to win and hopefully finish second behind Zimbabwe in the group, after an impressive show yesterday when they made short work of Mozambique and won by 10 wickets scoring 43-0 in 4 overs.
It will however be interesting to see a final pitting Zimbabwe and Namibia. Namibia have a score to settle after they were humiliated on home ground during the Namib Desert Women’s T20 Challenge series early this year in January that saw Zimbabwe record a 5-0 whitewash victory.