The Zimbabwe women’s national cricket team will face hosts Uganda and Kenya in a Twenty20 (T20) tournament that gets underway in Kampala this weekend as they ramp up their preparations for next month’s World Cup regional qualifier showdown.
The first match of the three-team tournament, dubbed the Victoria Tri-Series, will see Zimbabwe taking on Kenya on Saturday morning at the Lugogo Oval, while Uganda and Kenya clash in the afternoon fixture at the same venue.
Twenty- our hours later, action will move to move to the Kyambogo Oval with Uganda scheduled to meet Kenya again in the morning game, before the hosts take on Zimbabwe in what is expected to be an explosive encounter.
After resting on Monday, the teams will be back on the field the following day as Zimbabwe first take on Kenya before facing Uganda again in the afternoon match.
The top two sides at the end of the round-robin stage will meet in the final next Wednesday.
Uganda have recently emerged as Zimbabwe’s biggest rivals on the continent since the Lady Cranes toppled Zimbabwe for the first time to win the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Africa Qualifier in Windhoek, Namibia, in September 2017.
As if to prove the upset was not a fluke, Uganda went on to beat Zimbabwe again in a quadrangular tournament played in Harare last year.
Zimbabwe captain Mary-Anne Musonda has vowed her ladies are ready to avenge the losses and in the process claim a psychological advantage over Uganda ahead of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier – Africa 2019 scheduled for 3-13 May in Harare.
The regional qualifier will see nine countries – Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Namibia and Sierra Leone – contesting a T20 competition which serves not only as part of the pathway for the next ICC Women’s T20 World Cup which is being held in Australia in 2020, but will also help decide the participants in the next 50-over ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup which will be staged in New Zealand in 2021.
“The Uganda tour is really crucial for us because it will shed light on where we are and how well we are prepared for the regional qualifier tournament. It will give us a good head start,” Musonda said.
“Losing to Uganda at the last regional qualifier tournament dented our progress , so having another shot with them gives us a platform to regain confidence before this year’s tournament in Harare.”
Zimbabwe, who have been in camp for the past two months, were scheduled to travel to Uganda at midnight, with two changes made to the side that whitewashed Namibia in a five-match T20 series played in Walvis Bay earlier this year.
Sharne Mayers and Ellen Tshuma have been dropped, with Chiedza Dhururu and Tasmeen Granger replacing them in the squad of 14 for the tri-series in Uganda.
“Our preparations have been very good, as we fine-tuned our overall fitness and skills all round. I can say with confidence that the girls are ready, mentally and physically,” Musonda said before the team left Harare.
Zimbabwe Women’s Squad
Mary-Anne Musonda (captain), Ashley Ndiraya, Chipo Tiripano, Precious Marange, Anesu Mushangwe, Nomvelo Sibanda, Tasmeen Granger, Loryn Phiri, Josephine Nkomo, Chiedza Mzembe, Chiedza Dhururu, Nomatter Mutasa, Christabel Chatonzwa, Modester Mupachikwa