Botswana booked a place in the semifinals of the ongoing Africa Cricket Association (ACA) Africa T20 Cup finals this past Monday with a commanding cricket display against Mozambique.
Another commanding display with the ball and bat saw Botswana win the match by 91 runs. A masterful batting by the opening duo of Karabo Motlhanka and Reginald Nehonde set up the tone, while an entertaining batting by Thatayaone Tshose to wrap the inning provided the highlights.
Motlhanka and Nehonde’s stay at the batting crease produced 86 runs in 11.2 overs before the latter was caught by Last Emilio off Filipe Cossa’s ball. Motlhanka would follow him back to the stands 4 overs, run out by Lourenco Simango after becoming the first Botswana cricketer to pass half a century of runs with 56 runs from 42 balls.
Their departure nearly led to a capitulation by Botswana as they lost the wickets of Valentine Mbazo (27 runs) and Vinoo Balakrishnan (2 runs) on the 16th over. An over later, Zain Abbasi was dismissed for no runs as Mozambique threatened to turn Botswana over.
A lively cameo by Tshose however turned things back in Botswana’s favour. Tshose hit 49 runs from 14 balls, a knock comprised of 6 sixes and a four. His best knock came in the last over as he hit four successive sixes before being caught leg before wicket by Damiao Couana.
Fielding to defend their runs, Botswana also did a great job as the Mozambicans were all bowled out for 78 runs in 20 overs. As was with the game against Ghana the previous day, here it was once again Dhruv Maisuria’s brilliance with the ball which made Botswana’s path to the semifinals easier.
Maisuria helped himself to 4 wickets for the loss of 20 runs in his spell with the ball. After taking two wickets in the 12th over, he closed his innings in style with the scalp of the dangerous Couana in the 14th over before Balakrishnan and Abbasi wrapped up the match.
The win capped an event filled week for the local boys who had an indifferent start to the tournament. Botswana’s first game at the tournament saw them losing by 7 wickets to Uganda in what was a closely fought contest.
Coach Joseph Angara’s boys however picked themselves up in style in their second outing of the tournament on Sunday as they beat Ghana by 11 runs. Unlike in the first game against Uganda, Botswana was much improved and disciplined with both bat and ball in hand.
While Botswana managed to post a respectable 146 runs in the first innings against Ghana, it was perhaps Maisuria’s deftness with the ball which saw Botswana successfully defend their innings. His 5 wickets from four overs proved crucial as Botswana held on for their first win. Botswana now awaits to see how the last game of their group would go and who they will play in the semifinals this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Maisuaria is among the leading wicket takers in the tournament. His 9 wickets from the tournaments puts him in pole position ahead of his next competitor Yash Shaileshkumar of Kenya who has 6 wickets. Behind them are Tanzania’s Kassim Nassoro as well as the Kenyan duo of Lucas Oluoch and Shem Ngoche, all with five wickets each.