Eswatini break the wrong records

Tough time: Eswatini cricket team was soundly beaten during qualifiers PIC: ESWATINI CRICKET ASSOCIATION
Tough time: Eswatini cricket team was soundly beaten during qualifiers PIC: ESWATINI CRICKET ASSOCIATION

The end of the women’s T20 World Cup Africa qualifiers held in Gaborone could not have come too soon for Eswatini.

The punch-drunk team from the tiny kingdom staggered out of the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Oval after breaking all the wrong records. Botswana was the first to throw the first punch which floored Eswatini on September 9, 2021. Botswana scored 224 (one of the highest scores) and in response, the sorry Eswatini batters could only score 29 in a laboured innings which lasted 14.6 overs. The 195 run defeat was, at the time, the fifth-worst in terms of runs. It was Botswana women’s team's highest victory margins.

Two days later, Eswatini was thrown right back into the deep end as eventual winners, Zimbabwe did not show any mercy. Zimbabwe cantered to a 10-wicket victory in one of the lowest scoring matches. Eswatini managed a meagre 17 runs all out before Zimbabwe needed just above two overs to reach the victory target. The defeat also entered the record as one of the worst, featuring in the top 20.

The record-breaking run continued when Eswatini met Rwanda on September 12. Eswatini managed only 19 runs, chasing a victory target of 205. The worst was yet to come as pitted against Tanzania, Rwanda recorded the third-worst defeat on runs. Tanzania piled 279 for the loss of two wickets in their 20 overs and Eswatini were all out for 23. No batters managed to hit double figures, with five the highest score.

Eswatini rounded off their miserable campaign against Mozambique, in a battle of strugglers. But there was no win for the girls from Africa’s last remaining absolute monarch, despite an improved display. For the first time, Eswatini managed to go past a half-century of runs as a team, with Ntombizodwa Mkhatshwa reaching a milestone of sought as she managed double figures in a score of 12. Mozambique won by 83 runs to confirm Eswatini was in Gaborone for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, the local women found the going tough after their first two wins over Eswatini and Mozambique.

Botswana lost three games on the trot against Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Tanzania which meant they failed to reach the semi-finals. Zimbabwe beat Namibia in a tightly contested final to book a spot in the global qualifiers scheduled for next year.

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