Piety Lucky wins best batter of the tournament in Botswana as Rwanda makes history


Nigeria’s Lucky Piety’s 106 runs off 42 balls has earned her the best batter of the maiden African Under- 19 Women Cricket World Cup Qualifiers concluded on Monday September 12 in Gaborone, Botswana.

Nigeria’s went down in their first two matches to Rwanda (by 9 runs) and Tanzania (by 115 runs) before finding their footing in their last two encounters against Mozambique (won by 9 wickets) and Malawi (won by 115 runs).

According to the General Manager of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Emeka Igwilo, “the event could have better for the girls but you know that for teenagers, their emotions were running wild and it took them time to settle into the tournament.

“These are school kids that had limited exposure and a large chunk of them were getting that level of exposure for the first time. They were overwhelmed, by the time they settled into the tournament they had lost the chance to be in the top four.” He said.

Piety’s brilliant run was in Nigeria’s last encounter against Malawi where she had stepped in with Oseyande Omonkhobhio after fall of first-two wickets. She went on to make the fastest half ton – of the tournament; and eventually the fastest century of the tournament to take her team’s total to 191/7 at the end of their 20 overs, in the game Nigeria won by 117 runs.

Meanwhile, Rwanda on Monday in the final match eased past Tanzania to land their first ever World Cup ticket and the maiden one for the Under 19 Women’s World Cup.

Tanzania, who had defeated Rwanda in their group game, again chose to bat first in Monday’s final. Rahima Kibwana’s 33 from 39 balls gave Tanzania a platform, but excellent and disciplined bowling from Rwanda made sure the rate never got going. They were superb in the field effecting two run outs, one of which was the dangerous Agnes Qwele, who was dismissed at the non-strikers end without facing a ball.

Bowler of the Tournament Belise Murekatete then came back and ripped out three wickets in the 18th over, wrapping up the tail, as the end came quickly for the Tanzanians. They were bowled out for just 84, with two overs to spare. That waste would come back to haunt them.

Given a target of 85 to seal a dream ticket, Rwanda was composed and confident. Gisele Ishimwe, who was later named as Player of the Tournament, added 47 with Merveille Uwase (25 from 30 balls) for the first wicket. That immediately eased tensions, and it was left to Henriette Ishimwe, who was fittingly there at the end, hitting the winning boundary to spark wonderful and emotional celebrations from her teammates.

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