Botswana improved significantly with the bat in their third match at the Kwibuka women's T20 cricket tournament on Tuesday but still fell to a 65-run defeat to Namibia at the Gahanga Cricket Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda.
Botswana suffered heavy losses in their two opening matches against Rwanda and Kenya and were looking for redemption against their neighbours Namibia yesterday.
But there was no neighbourly love from Namibia as Botswana suffered a third consecutive defeat, despite scoring their highest total of 90-7. Namibians, who won the toss and opted to bat, found the boundary at regular intervals on their way to 155-1 in their allotted 20-overs.
Botswana bowlers struggled to find the breakthrough, with the only Namibian wicket to fall coming via a run-out.
Botswana had scored 98 runs in two matches, including a lowly 29 all out in the opening game. They needed to restrict a dangerous Namibia side to have any hopes of victory on a slow outfield, as the grass affected the ball’s movement.
But the Namibians accelerated at crucial moments, racing to 24 without loss in the first three overs. They maintained a steady run rate thanks to a partnership of 64 from openers Adri van der Merwe and Sune Wittmann, who departed just seven runs shy of a century. Botswana’s only joy came in the 10th over when a mix up saw the Namibian openers attempt a sharp single, only for a quick, direct throw from Botho Freeman, end van der
Wittmann was joined by Yasmeen Khan and the two piled on the runs. Khan ended unbeaten on 31 while Wittmann scored 93.
Botswana’s run chase started promisingly, with nine runs coming off the first over, their highest at that stage since the tournament started.
Skipper, Laura Mophakedi and her vice, Florence Samanyika started well, putting on 34 for the first wicket. But the openers departed in quick succession, before Jacqueline Kgang and Shameelah Mosweu went about repairing the damage.
However, any hopes of a fightback were extinguished with the soft dismissal of set Kgang for six in the 13th over, when she had appeared settled. Mosweu was next, trapped leg before wicket by Reehana Khan trying to turn the ball around. Mosweu top scored with 29.
Amantle Mokgotlhe became Kayleen Green’s second victim when she chipped the ball straight to the bowler for an easy catch and bowled dismissal.
The Botswana tail failed to wag, but there were promising signs with the bat after the team managed to hold out for all the 20 overs for the first time in the tournament.
Botswana’s final match in the competition is a dead rubber against Nigeria on Thursday, although the points accumulated count towards the International Cricket Council rankings.