A youthful Botswana side will look to take the game to Tanzania in what is expected to be an exciting T20 Africa Cup semifinal in Benoni, South Africa this afternoon.
The first ball will be bowled at 2pm as Botswana chases a historic final berth. The Baggy Blues started the tournament slowly, falling to Uganda on opening day last Thursday.
Thankfully, the Karabo Motlhanka-led outfit crafted the perfect response with a brand of explosive and exciting cricket to particularly blow away lightweights, Mozambique in the final group stage match on Monday.
A day earlier, Botswana held on for a deserved 11-run win over Ghana in a game in which several players raised their hands with gritty performances. Motlhanka has led from the front, hitting 30 from 28 balls against Ghana before top scoring with a quick-fire 56 from 42 balls.
Thatayaone Tshose also weighed in with a blistering 49 from just 14 balls as Botswana piled the highest runs (185) on their way to defeating Mozambique by 91 runs. The team appears balanced all the way through with Reginald Nehonde and Motlhanka establishing a solid opening partnership.
There is the insurance of Master Inzamamul while Phemelo Silas is coming of age. Botswana gave debuts to Leano Maphane and Boteng Maphosa as the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) starts to reap the fruits of a robust development programme.
While the batting has come to the party, it has been the exploits of spin bowler, Dhruv Maisuria that have ruthlessly put opponents to the sword. Maisuria took five wickets against Ghana to turn the match on its head before he ripped through the Mozambique order with a return of four wickets for just five runs in his four overs. It has been a brilliant comeback after his wicket-less toil against Uganda.
However, Botswana’s biggest examination comes against a plucky Tanzania side at the Sahara Park Willowmoore Cricket Stadium when the clock strikes two. Coach Joseph Angara is cautiously optimistic ahead of the Tanzania tie.
“The camp is looking good and the boys are upbeat and excited to be in the semi-finals. The majority of the boys are in good form as we have improved in every game from the preliminary game. Tanzania is a good side and we will not take them lightly,” Angara said.
His skipper, Motlhanka said they "want to really play and enjoy the match". “The mood is positive in the camp at the minute, obviously we are not the favourites but it gives us the freedom to play. We're looking to express ourselves and enjoy the occasion to its fullest and that of course includes winning the match,” Motlhanka said.