Last Updated: January 22, 2023, 21:39 IST
Rwanda were overjoyed again at the inaugural ICC Under 19-Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa, as they claimed their second victory of the tournament. Having beaten Zimbabwe in the Group stage, the East Africans accounted for the West Indies on Sunday, to claim their biggest victory to date.
It was the calm, confident bat of Gisele Ishimwe which saw Rwanda home by four wickets, as they chased down the West Indian effort of 70 all out, with 10 balls to spare. Ishimwe’s 31 not out, from 53 balls, was full of maturity and clarity, knowing what was at stake for her and her country.
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Earlier, the West Indies had won the toss and elected to bat first. They could not have predicted a Marie Tumukunde spell wreaking havoc on their plans, with a four-wicket burst that stopped their scoring in its tracks.
An exceptional four for eight in 3.3 overs was her return, getting the dangerous Jannillea Glasgow caught in the deep, before bowling Lena Scott out two balls later. She then trapped both captain, Ashmini Munisar and Abini St. Jean leg-before, as the wheels fell off the Windies’ innings.
Tumukunde was not alone in taking four scalps. Sylvia Usabyimana did the damage upfront, as Rwanda rotated their bowlers frequently. She had Naijanni Cumberbatch stumped without scoring, and she removed the well-set Realeanna Grimmond (18 off 21 balls) in the same fashion two overs later.
In between those two wickets, she also had Djenaba Joseph caught by Ishimwe for seven. For all their efforts, the West Indies could not get any momentum going with the bat, as Rwanda’s slow-bowling ruthlessly subscribed to a wicket-to-wicket line.
West Indies were eventually bowled all out, for 70.
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The slow surface was not easy to score on and Rwanda also lost wickets in clusters, but there were crucial contributions from Merveille Uwase (10) and Cynthia Tuyizere (12), which kept the scoreboard moving.
Those runs upfront also meant there was less for Ishimwe to do at the back-end, with the pressure mounting, especially when Henriette Ishimwe and Geovanis Uwase both fell to their very first deliveries respectively.
Gisele needed someone to stay with her and she eventually found an ally in Rosine Irera (8 not out from 14 balls). Together, they added 31 priceless runs to move from a precarious 40 for six to the target of 71.
Ishimwe did the bulk of the scoring, farming the strike and picking off the West Indian attack. Fittingly, she hit the winning run with 10 balls to spare, sparking a sea of Rwandan yellow running onto the field to celebrate.
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