BY PATIENCE LEPHOGOLE
Botswana took a step closer to the ICC WT20 Africa qualifiers with a well deserved nine (9) wicket victory over a hapless Eswatini today (Wednesday).
The win was a fourth on the trot by the hosts, who are now all but guaranteed to be among the continent’s last six teams who will compete at the Africa Qualifier finals which are billed for Uganda in May 2019.
All Botswana now needs is to beat Lesotho in their penultimate game tomorrow (Thursday) to secure their spot in the continental Twenty20 final qualifiers.
Against Eswatini, Botswana proved too good with both the ball and bat as they made an easy work of their opponents to ensure their fate was in their own hands.
Subsequent to Eswatini winning the toss and opting to bat first, the local lads restricted them to a measly 89 runs as local bowlers proved their worth with the ball.
Nabil Master and Dhruv Maisuria helped themselves to 2 wickets apiece, while Adithiya Rangaswamy and Thatayaone Tshose claimed a wicket each.
Rangaswamy, who had a wicket maiden in the first over, was the pick of the bowlers as he let out just 8 runs from his allotted 4 overs.
From then on, it was left to the Botswana batsmen to finish off what their bowlers had started and they duly delivered.
The local lads needed just 12 over’s and a ball to send their rivals packing, with Tshepo Phaswana and his captain Karabo Motlhanka starring with the bat.
Despite losing opening batsman Zain Abbasi for six runs just 1.2 overs into the game, Botswana had no problem chasing the Eswatini score, thanks to Phaswana and Motlhanka.
The duo shared an unbeaten partnership of 83 runs, with Phaswana, who went on to claim the Man of the Match accolade, playing a crucial role.
Phaswana hit an unbeaten 37 runs, which included six 4s from 31 balls to set Botswana on course, while Motlhanka, who had joined him at the crease following Abbasi’s dismissal had a return of 41 runs from 34 balls.
In the end, it was an easy victory for the locals, who are now tied with Namibia at the top of the log standings with both teams yet to lose a game.
The two teams will battle it out in their last match of the tournament on Saturday, with the winner bound to be crowned the Southern Africa sub region champions.