Uganda have claimed the Victoria Series women’s tournament by virtue of topping the round-robin group.
There was only one game possible out of a scheduled four on the last two days of the Victoria Series as the weather washed out most of the action. The final between Uganda and Tanzania was not possible after a persistent drizzle, thus Uganda claimed the trophy thanks to results in the four-match group stage.
The five-nation tournament served some very good quality cricket, but most importantly saw a shift in the balance of power in the region.
Kenya is no longer the power that it used to be as they lost all their games at the tournament with a virtually very new and young side. The defeat also wore heavy on one of their longest-serving players and captain Sharon Juma who called time on her career after the tournament. Their 23rd ranking in the world took a beating as well, especially after losing to Rwanda a side ranked two places below them.
Rwanda gained the most in a series they were expected to be the punching bag; they heavily lost to Uganda and UAE but they showed up against Kenya and in the short game against Tanzania. Those two wins coming against teams ranked above them will mean a great deal when the new rankings are released. ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Month of March Henriette Ishimwe was the standout performer for them in the two wins, an effort to also earn her a second back-to-back Player of the Series award after collecting the MVP crown in Nigeria. Rwanda continues to reap rewards for continuous investment in the ladies’ game and as the T20 World Cup Qualifiers get close they will be a force to reckon with in September.
The hosts Uganda won all their round-robin games their toughest match being the 3-run win over Tanzania in what was a clutch 15-over match, with the hosts winning a match that virtually sealed the tournament for them. The wins against UAE and Rwanda were easily achieved with a lot of class shown in the way they went about their business. A fine team performance from Uganda who were not great in the field but executed their bowling plans well to make sure they chase down small totals or managed to defend their 80 in the win against Tanzania. Captain Concy Aweko won the best bowler award.
The UAE came to Kampala as the highest ranked side but were humbled by different African conditions. They might have won easily against Kenya, but everyone beat Kenya and also had to bring their game against Rwanda to survive another scare. Tanzania easily dispatched them chasing down 138 runs with a few balls to spare and Uganda put them to the sword by six wickets. The losses are costly for them, with both teams ranked below them in the global rankings.
The trio of Esha Oza, Kavisha Egodage and Threetha Satish from the FairBreak added some steel to the batting, especially at the top, but every time they were dismissed, UAE was always exposed. Chaya Mughal and her troops should leave Kampala respect for the region, and for consolation, Kavisha Egodage, a late arrival in Uganda took home the Best Batter award.
Tanzania laid down the marker for the first two days of the action, especially after an emphatic win against the UAE, they quickly took the favourites tag but they faded after losing back-to-back games to Uganda and Tanzania. The opening combination of Fatuma Omary Kibasu and Saum Mtae was the batting combination of the series, the two always got Tanzania out of blocks quickly with the left hand of Saum Mtae showcasing some lovely stroke play. However, for Tanzania, their reliability on the pair cost them two games. The contributions needed to be shared for Tanzania to win the tournament.
A wonderful second edition that also go a new champion with Zimbabwe (winners of the first edition) absent, but also a great advertisement for women’s cricket.
Runners Up: Tanzania
MVP: Henriette Therese Ishimwe
Best Batter: Kavisha Egodage
Best Bowler: Concy Aweko