Lady Chevrons stumble in World Cup qualifier opener

Lady Chevrons in their opening match of the 2024 Women’s T20 World Cup against Vanuatu yesterday in Abu Dhabi, UAE

ZIMBABWE’S senior women’s cricket team’s World Cup qualification hopes got off to a shocking start in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The Lady Chevrons, considered heavy favourites going into the match, suffered a humiliating six-wicket defeat to tournament newcomers, Vanuatu.

Batting first, Zimbabwe was routed for a meagre 61 runs — their lowest ever total in a T20 International match — in just 13, 3 overs. Vanuatu chased down the target comfortably, reaching 62 runs with four wickets in hand and 3,3 overs to spare.

This marked Vanuatu’s debut in a World Cup Qualifier and their first ever match against a team outside the East-Asia Pacific region.

Zimbabwe captain Mary-Anne Musonda shouldered the blame for the team’s performance. She acknowledged that senior players, including herself, failed to rise to the occasion and misread the game situation. Musonda said complacency wasn’t the issue, but rather an inability to adapt while batting.

“Obviously the glaring bit was our batting, it was not up to our standard, definitely we haven’t batted like that and I thought probably we just failed to have guys responsible enough to bat through and that should have been the top six or any of the senior players to just step up on the day and say it’s a difficult situation but I will bat until the 20th over but today (Friday) nobody did that and that is why we find ourselves in this situation.

“I don’t think it was complacency, I think things just happened so quickly that we didn’t realise that we needed to dig deeper than we were and complacency is something that we spoke about and I really don’t think that was the case. I just think we failed to read the situation and respond appropriately and probably the people who were in did not take the team home, they left it to the next person, they did not realise that now we don’t need boundaries, probably we just need to rotate strike and not play risky cricket. I think we did not read the game as things were falling apart,” said Musonda.

The Lady Chevrons have three more group matches to come against UAE, Ireland and the Netherlands and will need nothing short of victories to qualify for the next stage. Musonda understands that they have to put the defeat behind them and focus on the upcoming matches.

She said their aim is to finish on top of Group B and to do that, they will have to try and win all their remaining games. She added that as players they should take responsibility and apply themselves properly.

“It has put us in a state of bother because we would want to finish top and play the team that comes second in the other group. We wouldn’t want to face the strongest from the other group but this is where we are but I still feel that we have a chance, we just need to fight in the last three games to make sure we have a spot in the semis and I don’t think that is a difficult ask if we apply ourselves and people just take responsibility if all the senior players step up through and through until the last game.

“It’s a defeat, it’s disheartening but it’s a tournament that is very short, we only have one day to turn things around and change our mentality. So, I’m hoping the girls are able to do that and we come back a different team,” said Musonda.

Vanuatu’s spin attack proved dominant, restricting Zimbabwe to a meagre 61 runs. Nasimana Navaika led the way with a superb spell of 4 wickets for 13 runs in just 4 overs, while Vanessa Vira chipped in with three wickets for 14 runs in 3,3 overs. Rachel Andrew and Vicky Mansale also contributed with two and one wickets respectively.

Zimbabwe’s batting struggled in response

Only three batters managed double-digit scores. Sharne Mayers top-scored with 16 runs from 12 balls, followed by Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano (11 runs) and Josephine Nkomo (10 runs).

Zimbabwe’s bowlers couldn’t prevent Vanuatu from cruising to victory. Audrey Mazvishaya picked up two wickets for 10 runs in her four overs, while Kelis Ndhlovu and Nkomo grabbed one wicket each.

The Lady Chevrons will need a significant turnaround as they face UAE in their next match today at the Tolerance Oval. The match starts at 5:30 PM (local time).


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