Zimbabwe’s women were too good against Namibia in the final of this week’s Capricorn Women’s Tri-Series, lifting the trophy in the Namibian capital of Windhoek after dominating the group stage.
The Lady Chevrons didn’t have everything their own way though, with the hosts and Uganda both providing some highlights.
The best team in the tournament, Zimbabwe were undefeated after their early hiccough against Namibia – they won six of their seven matches on the way to the title.
Zimbabwe’s batting depth especially made the difference, with three of their top order hitting half-centuries and featuring in the top four run-scorers for what was ultimately a low-scoring tournament.
Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano led the way with 172 in five outings, averaging 43 with a tournament-high strike rate of 114.7. She highlighted her power with 80 (59) in Zimbabwe’s loss to Namibia, thrashing the seamers through the covers if they pitched it up, and pouncing on any length to heave it through (and over) midwicket.
Sharne Mayers also featured with the bat, top-scoring with 68* (57) as Zimbabwe piled on 156/0 in their third group match against Namibia, but Kelis Ndlovu was the find for the Lady Chevrons. Making her debut in this tournament after impressing in Zimbabwe’s domestic T20 series, 16-year-old Ndlovu was aggressive at the top of the order in all seven matches, and contributed 146 runs at 29.2 (strike rate 95.4) in several positive starts, including her 33 (21) to make short work of the chase in the final.
Zimbabwe’s bowling was also a team effort with Precious Marange and Anesu Mushangwe carrying the spin department – offie Marange was parsimonious with the tournament’s best economy rate of 3.6 runs per over, while leggie Mushangwe topped Zimbabwe’s wicket and averages lists with 10 scalps at 10.2.
Pace was also covered with Josephine Nkomo and Nomvelo Sibanda both contributing charismatic spells – Nkomo with 4/7 to bundle out Namibia for 41 in their second group encounter, and lefty Sibanda with 5/14 (including Zimbabwe’s first T20I hat-trick) to restrict them to 70 in the final. Debutante Michelle Mavunga also impressed in her first series as her tidy right-arm seam collected 7 wickets at an ER of 4.3.
Namibia made history on the first day, overturning a Full Member for the the first time in women’s cricket. It was an exciting last-over chase of a challenging target of 131, carried by 21-year-old opener Arrasta Diergaardt hitting a composed 62* (60). Technically compact with a cool temperament, she was Namibia’s anchor with the bat as she notched 141 runs in the tournament at 23.5; a strike-rate of 79.7 could certainly be improved, though her stability should allow more dynamic strokeplay at the other end.
Unfortunately Namibia’s batting couldn’t back up from the famous victory, failing to cross 100 in any of their subsequent outings and regularly getting bogged by an inability to rotate the strike – a flaw born of inexperience and lack of match practice.
18-year-old Edelle van Zyl hit the tournament’s most sixes with 4 across a pair of sparky knocks (27* off 15 to get over the line on the penultimate ball against Uganda in their final group match, then 24 off 20 in the final), but a tally of 60 is unfortunately not good enough for a team’s second top scorer. Crouching low at the crease with a high backlift, van Zyl’s stance and power are a little reminiscent of a right-handed Graeme Smith and in future she could be a good candidate to partner Diergaardt at the top of the order.
While their batting mostly disappointed, Namibia’s bowling got them home in three close tussles with Uganda. Sune Wittmann’s bustling right-armers led the pace attack with 9 wickets at 9.8 – including 5/10 to help defend just 68 in the second group match against the Lady Cricket Cranes.
In a slightly strange tactical decision, seamer Sylvia Shihepo only sent down 12 overs in 7 matches despite being Namibia’s leading WT20I wicket-taker (and also signing on to play as an overseas pick for UK club side Stockport Georgians), and indeed picking up 2 wickets in the final against Zimbabwe. Off-spinners Kayleen Green and Victoria Hamunyela were tidy, and able to choke off runs against Uganda, but lacked the incisive edge needed against Zimbabwe, collecting just 3 and 2 wickets apiece.
The Lady Cricket Cranes were the tournament’s also-rans, not tasting victory in any of their six group matches, but there were some good signs as they pushed Namibia close and weren’t too far off challenging Zimbabwe (coming within 8 and 11 runs in their first and third group matches).
Unfortunately several senior players were missing due to disciplinary issues, and their inexperienced batting was just not able to compete, with no Ugandan passing 50 and Janet Mbabazi’s 118 at 29.5 their top aggregate for the tournament.
The Ugandan bowling attack was more impressive, with three in the top four wicket-takers for the tournament. Mbabazi backed up with her medium pace to claim tournament-high 11 wickets at 7.8, including a pair of 4-wicket hauls against Zimbabwe, while skipper Concy Aweko sent down 23.1 overs of aggressive legspin (the most for her team) and scalped 10 wickets at 10.4.
Young seamer Patricia Malemikia (playing in just her second series) was tidy with 6 wickets and an ER of under 4, while 17-year-old Phiona Kulume was sensational in her debut series, grabbing 6/11 (Uganda’s best WT20I bowling figures, and the best-ever WT20I figures in a losing cause) in just her third senior match to bundle out Namibia for 68. With five out bowled and an LBW, the tall, springy Kulume tormented the Capricorn Eagles by cutting it off the pitch and generating awkward bounce and angle. Coming in at a decent clip, Kulume was accurate too, recording Uganda’s best ER of 3.8 and is certainly the discovery of the tournament for Uganda. One to watch in future engagements from the Lady Cricket Cranes.
TOURNAMENT RESULTS IN BRIEF
Match 1: Zimbabwe (130/3 off 20 overs) lost to Namibia (131/3 off 19.4 overs) by 7 wickets with 2 balls remaining.
Match 2: Namibia (90/9 off 20 overs) beat Uganda (78/8 off 20 overs) by 12 runs.
Match 3: Zimbabwe (100 off 19.5 overs) beat Uganda (92/8 off 20 overs) by 8 runs.
Match 4: Zimbabwe (127/5 off 20 overs) beat Uganda (105/6 off 20 overs) by 22 runs.
Match 5: Namibia (41 off 17 overs) lost to Zimbabwe (45/1 6.3 overs) by 9 wickets with 81 balls remaining.
Match 6: Namibia (68 off 15.2 overs) beat Uganda (40 off 12.1 overs) by 28 runs.
Match 7: Zimbabwe (86 off 19.2 overs) beat Uganda (75/7 off 20 overs) by 11 runs.
Match 8: Zimbabwe (156/0 off 20 overs) beat Namibia (89/6 off 20 overs) by 67 runs.
Match 9: Uganda (93/3 off 20 overs) lost to Namibia (99/5 off 19.5 overs) by 5 wickets with 1 ball remaining.
Final: Namibia (70 off 13.3 overs) lost to Zimbabwe (76/3 off 9.1 overs) by 7 wickets with 65 balls remaining.
You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.
Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, please subscribe for regular updates, and follow EC on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Don’t know where to start? Check out our features list, country profiles, and subscribe to our podcast.
Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.