Zimbabwe thrash Namibia as opening pair puts a record-breaking partnership

Kalyani Mangale
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Zimbabwe thrash Namibia as opening pair puts a record-breaking partnership

Zimbabwe's Kelis Ndlovu and Sharne Mayers © Zimbabwe Women's Cricket Team/ Twitter

Zimbabwe thrashed Namibia in their final league game of the Capricorn Tri-series by 67 runs at the Centre for Cricket Development Ground on Sunday (24 April). The record-breaking opening partnership between Kelis Ndlovu and Sharne Mayers helped Zimbabwe win their fifth consecutive match of the series. They have reached the tournament final in style. 

Namibia’s captain Irene van Zyl won the toss and invited Zimbabwe to bat first in the match of the Capricorn Tri-series. Zimbabwe promoted the right-handed batter Mayers to open the batting with the 16-year-old Ndlovu, who made her debut in the first match of the tri-series. Sylvia Shihepo opened the bowling for the hosts, and she started with five wides. That became the trend for Namibia as they conceded 16 wides inside the powerplay. 

Both batters got away with some sloppy shots in the powerplay as Namibia dropped easy chances in the powerplay. Initially, it was Mayers who took the attacking route when she smashed Sylvia Shihepo for three boundaries in an over. Irene van Zyl introduced the off-spin of Wilka Mwatilein in the fourth over, but that could not stop the opening pair. Zimbabwe added 49 runs in the powerplay without breaking a sweat.

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Namibia were desperate for a breakthrough as they gave the ball to the wicket-keeper Yasmeen Khan while Kayleen Green took the gloves. The hosts continued to shell the catches and run-out opportunities as Mayers reached her third T20I half-century with a whopping six over deep mid-wicket in the 14th over. With that six, the pair also crossed 100 run mark and became the second pair to do that for Zimbabwe. 

The left-hander Ndlovu scored her first international half-century in her sixth T20I match off 57 balls. The pair added 15 runs off the last two overs taking Zimbabwe past the 150 mark. On the back of the record-breaking opening partnership, they put 156 in the first innings. 

In reply, Namibia’s openers started well against the pace of Josephine Nkomo. Wittmann, who was the star of the match against Uganda with the ball, smashed Nkomo for a boundary in the first over. She added two more boundaries to her bag in the second over bowled by left-arm pace bowler Nomvelo Sibanda. It looked like Namibia were in the competition from the get-go, but Sibanda pulled things back with a maiden inside the powerplay. 

Zimbabwe’s captain Mary-Anne Musonda introduced Francisca Chipare immediately after the powerplay. She conceded 11 runs from her first over but made amends with the wicket of Khan for a golden duck in her next over. Green showed aggression with a massive six down the ground off Anesu Mushangwe. Namibia needed more such efforts as the required run rate was climbing. 

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Zimbabwe were not great with their line and lengths and gave away five extras in the middle overs, but managed to keep Green and Jurriene Diergaardt quiet. The rising required run rate pushed the hosts to take some risks and it didn’t go well as they lost Green and Diergaardt within five balls. Chipare chipped in with the wicket of Dietlind Foerster in the penultimate over and Zimbabwe thumped the hosts by 67 runs to continue their winning streak of five matches. 

Brief Scores: Zimbabwe: 156/0 in 20 overs (Sharne Mayers 68*, Kelis Ndlovu 58*) beat Namibia 89/6 in 20 overs (Sune Wittmann 23, Jurriene Diergaardt 21; Francisca Chipare 2/18) by 67 runs