Qualification has wrapped up for the inaugural U19 ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup with Rwanda clinching the final spot courtesy of their victory in the recently concluded African qualifier. Playing against Tanzania, another cricket success story in the East African region, the U19 Rwandan Ladies secured a fairly comfortable victory chasing down the target of 85 runs with 6 wickets to spare.
Rwandan allrounder and Fairbreak Global participant Henriette Ishimwe starred with both bat and ball, scoring 17 not out and taking two wickets for seven runs. She was backed up by a sensational bowling performance from Belyse Murekatete and Rosine Irera; their combined five wickets restricting the Tanzanians to a modest total of 84.
With Rwanda’s victory, it confirms the final participants for the eagerly anticipated U19 Women’s World Cup in 2023. Indonesia who beat Papua New Guinea to qualify from the East Asia Pacific region will be Rwanda’s fellow debutantes at an ICC World Cup event.
The final sixteen teams for the World Cup (to be hosted by South Africa) will consist of automatic qualifiers Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe and United States of America; alongside regional qualifiers UAE, Indonesia, Scotland and Rwanda.
While there’s a lot of room for improvement in it’s qualification structure, the Under-19 pathway event is a massively beneficial investment in women’s cricket. It gives an additional outlet for talented young women cricketers around the globe to showcase their skills at an international level and also provides valuable game experiences to budding youth cricketers hoping to make their transition to the senior team.
Furthermore, with the growing strength of depth in African women’s cricket, reasonable arguments can be put forward to award Africa with two qualification slots instead of one. Or have the 2nd African finisher playoff with the ICC Americas region to determine the final participant.
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