Henriette Ishimwe’s hat-trick provided the gloss on a historic day for Rwandan Cricket, as they defeated Zimbabwe by 39 runs.
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl first in Potchefstroom, and Rwanda immediately set to task in making a total that would test their African counterparts. Openers Merveille Uwase and Cynthia Tuyizere made a terrific start, adding a steady 49 for the first wicket.
They added the bulk of the runs, and Zimbabwe did not help themselves by providing 20 extras to the total. That saw the total swell to 119 for eight, despite seven Rwandan wickets falling in the last five overs of the innings. Chipo Moyo was the pick of the bowlers, with three for 22. This included two wickets off successive balls in the final over, as Rwanda scrambled for late runs.
Zimbabwe had to score at six runs to the over to succeed, and Natasha Mtomba’s fluent 20 at the top of the order set them on their way. Wickets kept on falling however, as Rwanda swarmed around their opponents with lively fielding and energy.
Kelly Ndiraya made a patient 20, but she took 38 balls to get there. The required rate was climbing, and Rwanda could smell a historic, first-ever triumph in a World Cup.
Henriette Ishimwe, who took the new ball, returned a terrific second spell, as the pressure mounted. Her final figures of four for 13 were decisive and sensational. The wickets came off consecutive balls in the 19th over, giving her the second hat-trick in the tournament in as many days, but making her the first bowler to take four wickets in a row in an event that is seeing many firsts.
Fittingly, she also took the final wicket to spark exuberant celebrations.
Scores in brief:
Toss: Zimbabwe, who elected to field.
Rwanda 119 for eight in 20 overs (Gisele Ishimwe 34, Cynthia Tuyizere 30, Chipo Moyo three for 22)
Zimbabwe 80 all out in 18.4 overs (Natasha Mtomba 20, Kelly Ndiraya 20, Henriette Ishimwe four for 13)
Rwanda won by 39 runs.