Cause for optimism as Kenya women win Kwibuka T20 title
WOMEN IN SPORTS By Standard Sports | June 14th 2021
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.
Victory for the Kenyans will surely be warmly received in Nairobi as a positive step for a country bogged down by incessant leadership wrangles in the cricket governing body.
Cricket Kenya is currently under a Normalisation Committee chaired by retired judge, Justice Joyce Aluoch, who ensured the women’s team was entered for the tournament.
The team, which was fully funded by the Sports Ministry shrugged off a group stage loss to Namibia to breeze through to victory on Saturday.
The Kenyan batters made light work of the chase against Namibia with some attacking display after Wetoto’s six-fer helped them bundle Namibia out for just 69 at The Gahanga on Saturday.
Kenya began the tournament on a positive note easily beating Botswana by nine wickets before registering an eight wicket win over Nigeria.
A day later, they were shocked when they went down by 36 runs to Namibia.
Kenya’s determination remained strong following their loss. Captain Margaret Banja and her ladies would not back down and overcame hosts Rwanda in the last preliminary matches by 25 runs in a match that openers Quinta Aoko and Veronica Abuga both scored 47.
In the semis, Kenya had an easy ride beating the hosts by 52 runs.
Aoko was named player of the tournament after posting 165 runs and bagging seven wickets.
Apart from the veterans that lived to their expectations, the youngsters and debutants who were drafted in the hurriedly named team made a name for themselves. Melvin Idambo had received her maiden international call-up to the national side after consistent performances in the domestic circuit.
She carried forward that good work in the international arena and started off in style.
“It was surprising to see Melvin emerging as a natural spinner in the side. It looked like an experiment in the first match but she surprised us. She made sure she grabbed the chance with both hands with four wickets,” former national team bowler Beryl Oyugi said.
Her sister Lavendar Idambo, too, was impressive in all the six matches. The former Kawangare was tasked with the new ball putting on a fantastic performance with 4 wickets in 18 overs.
Lavendar was not left behind with the bat as against Namibia in the preliminary match; she was the second top scorer.
Sarah Bhakita was in fantastic form throughout the tournament, constantly limiting batsmen and taking crucial wickets. She finished the tournament with the bowler of the tournament honour after bagging 17 scalps.
During the final, it was Bhakita who helped to seal the trophy with 6 for 16 as Namibia were bowled for 69.
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