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MBABANE – Tanzania finished the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Sub Regional Africa B Qualifier with a flourish.

They thumped Cameroon by 184 runs on the final day of action in Kigali, Rwanda two days ago. This is the same competition where the Delisa Malinga-coached Eswatini national cricket side, fought for a place on the biggest stage but ended up being ranked sixth out of eight, following a nightmarish run, headlined by a single win against Gambia. According to a correspondence copied to this publication, the margin of victory by Tanzania ensured that they snuck past Nigeria, who had led the table throughout the week, to take tournament honours, courtesy of a better Net Run Rate (NRR) of 4.891.


Meanwhile it was not Nigeria’s problem that their captain Sylvester Okpe lost the toss and was asked to bowl first against Ghana in the final game of the tournament - a west African derby. Luck at the toss would have seen the ‘Big Ogas’ bat first and pile on the runs in an attempt to maintain their superior NRR. But it was not to be. Already qualified from the Group A event two weeks ago are the east African nations Kenya and Rwanda, with the reward for the quartet being pitting their wits against the higher ranked trio of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Uganda. “There were heart-warming stories in the other matches on the final day, as Mozambique sealed third place with a five-wicket victory over Sierra Leone, and inexperienced Gambia defeated Cameroon to avoid the wooden spoon,” reads the report in part. Mozambique continue to punch above their weight in these tournaments, and their experience in Rwanda bodes well for future tournaments. Not only is the third-place their biggest take away from the event but also the fact that their all-rounder Jose Bulele scooped the Player of the Tournament award.


The 19-year-old, not only crossed 500 T20I career runs this week - now at 612 - but also scored 210 runs at an average of 42, picked up nine wickets from 23.2 overs and held onto one catch for an unequalled haul of 958 MVP points. Another side who left Kigali heartened was unseeded Gambia. They have learnt some strong lessons over the past week, and they applied them in an emotional 11-run victory over Cameroon on Friday morning. Mercifully, the final day in Kigali was not affected by the weather, and African cricket was the winner as several, intriguing narratives played out over the course of the day’s action, including one fairytale that saw Ghana’s Samson Kwesi Awe Awiah taking home the Best Batsman’s trophy with 227 runs, at a strike rate of 132 and average of 37.8 per innings over the seven matches the 32-year-old played.


This brings down the curtain on another strong year for cricket on the continent with all nations looking to build on this progress, come 2023. “The competiveness on show this past month in Rwanda was a joy to watch after years of struggling with poor administration and mismanagement. It promises to be a year like no other, with cricket being included in the Africa Games to be hosted in Ghana for the very first time and the small matter of two nations progressing directly to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024 to be played in the West Indies and USA,” highlighted the report.

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