Monday, December 21, 2009

Ladies are African Champions

Kenya Ladies yesterday beat Uganda by 29 runs to complete their whitewash of the continental championship and take the title for the first time.

Losing the toss, Kenya were put into bat and got off to a cautious start. Margaret Banja (4) was the first casualty for Kenya with the scores on 16 and Kenya suffered a minor collapse as Maria Aimee (6) and Belinda Maska (2) followed in quick succession to have Kenya at 3/32. Perlyne Omamo once again provided the glue to stick the Kenyan innings together and remained unfazed by the loss of her partners. She steadily compiled her first ever international half century as wickets continued to fall at the other end.

By the time Omamo fell for her well earned 60, Kenya had made 119 and went on to set a target of 136 thanks to contributions from Ruth Mwahiki (12*), Sarah Bhakita (11) and of course the ever present extras (25). Omamo has twice carried the team with her batting this tournament and should be extremely proud to have reached this personal milestone.

Uganda's reply got off to a shaky start with Bhakita and Banja combining to have them in trouble at 17/3 before Christine Aryemo (15) and Stella Atim (21) combined for a 44 run partnership for the 4th wicket that brought Uganda right back into the game. Ruth Mwihaki ended the fightback when she trapped Aryemo in front and Uganda experienced a collapse of their own as 3 wickets fell for just 4 runs (6/64).

Kenya continued to apply the pressure and Mwihaki was rewarded with her third wicket when Aweko was caught by Aimee. Frankline Nanjjumba fought to the end with an unbeaten 27 to give the Ugandans hope but the return of Bhakita compounded the pressure as she picked up Esther Osikol caught and bowled before Mart Belle polished off the last 2 wickets to see Kenya safely home.

This is a fantastic result for the Kenyan women and is a fitting reward for the hard work they have put in under new coach Dun Okinyo. Credit too should go to Cricket Kenya and the NPCA who introduced them to the men's league and ensured that the team had the opportunity to play regularly against good opposition. Again the call must now be made to look at introducing a second ladies side to the competition to continue this growth. The players are both available and keen and have proved they are a valuable return on investment.

No comments: