The Botswana Under 19 cricket team prepared for their World Cup qualifiers in Namibia by participating in the Annual Easterns Junior Cricket Festival in South Africa and winning four of their seven games.
The team returned this week after gaining much needed practice before the World Cup qualifiers later this month.
On the first day, the Botswana U19 team took on the Mozambique U19 team in a 30 overs game.
Botswana made short work of the Mozambique team, dismissing them for 80 with Hamish Dunlop notching up three wickets.
Botswana struggled at the beginning of their innings but eventually coasted to victory by five wickets.
The next morning, they opted to bowl first against the Northerns U17 team in fogy and cold conditions. The Botswana bowling attack, led by the right arm medium pace of Saksham Raina, managed to restrict the Northerns U17 to a low score of 81 all out in their 30 overs.
After struggling in the beginning, Botswana reached their target with five overs to spare with Siddarth Ragav top scoring with 45 not out.
Botswana once again took on the Mozambique U19 team in a 30 over game. The Mozambique team was dismissed for 82 with Hamish Dunlop and Dylan Lubbe each taking three wickets for the Botswana team. This time the victory was convincing as the Botswana team only lost one wicket when chasing down Mozambique’s score.
For the pro 20, the Botswana team met the Easterns U15s again. This time around Botswana’s bowling gave little away and restricted the Easterns U15s to a total of 118 for 8 wickets with an impressive bowling performance by Adithya Rangaswamy.
The total was chased down very convincingly by the Botswana batsmen again losing only one wicket in the process and Siddarth Rangaswamy making a match winning contribution of 57 not out.
On the last day of the tournament, organisers arranged the fixtures match opponents against each other based on their strength. The Botswana team took on the Gauteng U17 team.
Botswana batted first, posting a defendable total of 136. The top scorers were Karabo Motlhanka and Nabil Master, who each contributed 35 runs. The Botswana team had to work hard but narrowly lost in the nail biter of a finish that saw Gauteng only manage to chase down the score in the last over of the match.
During the award ceremony, the Botswana U15 team received an award for showing a “never say die” attitude despite losing all their games. The U15 team showed courage and fought even when the opposition was well on top.
The only individual award received was by the Botswana U19 captain Karabo Motlhanka. He was awarded “The Most promising Wicketkeeper-Batsman award.
In an Interview with Sunday Standard, Botswana U19 captain Karabo Motlhanka said the team could go far in the qualifiers later in the month.
“I believe the festival was essential to the preparations for the U19 World Cup Qualifiers in Namibia. It gave an opportunity for the team to assess its shortcomings and improve on them in these two weeks before the main tournament. It also gave a chance to many players in the team to showcase their talent against tough opposition and try to have their names in the squad to go to Namibia. Winning 4 out of 7 games was a very good achievement and we will work towards making the country proud again in Namibia,” he said.