Zimbabwe vanquish Nigeria to confirm place in final
Nigeria Women – 35 all out in 12.1 overs (Blessing Nwobodo 12, Blessing Etim 9, Hannah Ayoka 4; Nomatter Mutasa 4/9, Anesu Mushangwe 2/8, Nomvelo Sibanda 1/9)
Zimbabwe Women – 36-0 in 3.4 overs (Ashley Ndiraya 17*, Sharne Mayers 13*)
Zimbabwe Women won by 10 wickets
Nomatter Mutasa took four wickets as Zimbabwe Women continued their triumphant course through the group stages of the ICC Women’s Qualifier Africa 2019 tournament at Old Hararians Sports Club in Harare on Saturday.
After making a promising start, Nigeria collapsed completely to be dismissed for 35, a total the home team overtook within four overs without the loss of a wicket.
Nigeria had beaten Mozambique, but lost to Rwanda and Tanzania in their previous matches.
Zimbabwe, whose net run rate was so great that it was virtually impossible for them to lose their top position whatever the result of this match, decided to rest some key players in Modester Mupachikwa, Tasmeen Granger and Audrey Mazvishaya.
Nigeria won the toss and decided to bat, which meant that Zimbabwe had to chase a target for the first time in this tournament.
Nigeria began their innings in positive fashion, taking 14 runs off the first two overs, bowled by Nomvelo Sibanda, playing her first match of the tournament, and Josephine Nkomo.
In her second over, though, Sibanda removed Hannah Ayoka for four, thanks to a fine diving catch by Ashley Ndiraya at cover; 17 for one.
This was to be as good as it got for Nigeria.
Zimbabwe tightened up with their bowling and Nigeria showed more caution, so only four more runs were added in the next three overs before the batsmen had a breakdown in communication, as it is known in other spheres, and Samantha Agazume was run out for one.
In the following over, the seventh, Blessing Nwobodo (12) drove a simple catch into the covers off Mutasa, who then trapped the new batter, Fate Fyneface, lbw first ball.
Nigeria had now slumped to 23 for four after seven overs, which became 24 for five when Agatha Abulor as non-striker set off for a run that wasn’t there, and was run out for one by a fine throw from Sibanda at backward point.
Mutasa then bowled Oyewole Oyronke without scoring, and next ball Mary Desmond popped an easy catch to extra cover; 25 for seven after nine overs.
Mutasa now had bowling figures of four wickets for four runs off three overs.
Anesu Mushangwe bowled Grace Ephraim without scoring in the next over, but then Blessing Etim showed some fight, playing some good drives as she scored nine from 12 deliveries.
However, she was then caught at the wicket off Mushangwe to make the score 35 for nine wickets, and an ill-judged attempt at a run one ball later saw the innings come to a close for 35 in the 13th over.
The opening partnership had scored almost half the team total, and eight of the batters scored only two runs among them.
The total also benefited from eight wides from the Zimbabwe bowlers.
Mutasa finished with figures of four for nine in her four overs; Mushangwe took two for eight, Sibanda had a wicket and there were three run-outs.
The left-handed Ndiraya opened the Zimbabwe batting this time round with Sharne Mayers.
The runs were scored within four overs without loss, Ndiraya scoring 17 off 13 balls and Mayers 13 off nine.
Ndiraya added to her fine catch with some graceful strokes in her first innings of the tournament.
Zimbabwe easily confirmed their place in the final at 11 am tomorrow at Harare Sports Club against Namibia.
The hosts will be the favourites after four dominating performances, but Namibia are nevertheless a good team.
With nerves more likely to play up in a final, with so much at stake in this case, a Zimbabwe victory is likely but cannot be taken for granted. – zimcricket