Wetoto floors Namibia as allround Kenya romp to yet another Kwibuka T20 triumph
Kenya trumped pre-tournament favourites Namibia on their way to the fourth Kwibuka T20 title thanks to a magnificent spell of spin bowling from Sarah Wetoto. Kenyan batters made light of the chase with some attacking display after Wetoto’s six-fer helped them bundle Namibia out for just 69 at the Gahanga International Stadium in Kigali on Saturday (June 12).
Opting to bat, Namibia were off to a shocking start when they lost in-form openers early with only 13 runs on the board. Adri van der Merwe was out in the second over for just five and then Lavendah Idambo had Sune Wittmann caught at long-on for six in the next over.
Despite the loss of two early wickets, Yasmeen Khan and Kayleen-Ann Green stuck to Namibia’s attacking game plan and added two boundaries each as they took on Melvin Idambo and Lavendah. But Khan paid the price for going after the bowling too many times when she was caught at long-off by Queentor Abel off Melvin. Green followed the wicket-keeper when she was dismissed in similar fashion to Abel’s off-spin as Namibia reduced themselves to 42 for four in the ninth over.
From there, Namibia’s untested middle-order needed to steady the ship to calm the waters and take them to a respectable total. However, the introduction of Wetoto into the attack once again caused a mayhem as the slow off-spinner enticed Namibia’s batters into going after her loopy deliveries in pursuit of easy runs.
With her first delivery, Wetoto sent Didi Foerster back as she became yet another Namibian batter caught at long-off. With the fourth ball, Wetoto had Wilka Mwatile caught behind for a duck before trapping Irene Van Zyl in front with the final ball of the over to have her second three-wicket over of the tournament.
Once they were reduced to 47 for seven, all Namibia could hope was for the lower-order to play out the 20 overs. Although Sylvia Shihepo and Edelle Van Zyl added another ten runs, Wetoto wasn’t finished as she had Edelle beaten in flight and was bowled. In her final over, Wetoto completed her second five-wicket haul in the tournament when Mezerly Gorases was caught by Esther Wachira. She dismissed Victoria Hamunyela in the same over to bundle Namibia out for a paltry score of 69.
For Kenya, Wetoto returned with their best individual bowling figures in T20Is with the figures that read 3.5-0-16-6.
Chasing 70 for yet another Kwibuka T20 title, Abel played out a maiden off Shihepo before Green followed it up with another maiden where she snared Veronica Abuga for a five-ball duck. In the third over, Abel and skipper Margaret Ngoche took on Shihepo as the right-arm pacer erred by bowling too full and was punished for three boundaries.
In the fifth over, Wilka Mwatile had Abel caught by Khan for 10 off 13 balls with the score reading 22 for two. Dismissal of Abel didn’t deter Ngoche and Sharon Juma from taking on the bowlers in pursuit of the moderate target. Ngoche smashed Green for a couple of boundaries while Juma hit Mwatile for a four. With the score reading 43 for two already from eight overs, Namibia needed to pick wickets in clusters.
Meanwhile, Juma continued her attacking ways and launched into Irene hitting the pacer for a couple of boundaries to take Kenya’s score past the 50-run mark. Off-spinner Hamunyela was eventually introduced into the attack but it was too much for her to do. She first had Ngoche dropped by Irene before trapping Juma for a quick fire 16 off 14.
However, Ngoche was in a hurry to finish the game off and did it in style with two fours and a huge six over long-off in the 11th over bowled by her opposite number Irene. Kenya never had beaten Namibia before in T20Is but on the crucial day they brought their A-game to register yet another title in the tournament.
Brief scores: Namibia 69/10 in 15.5 overs (Sylvia Shihepo 16*; Sarah Wetoto 6/16) lost to Kenya 72/3 in 11 overs (Margaret Ngoche 37*; Victoria Hamunyela 1/4) by seven wickets. POTM: Sarah Wetoto