BOASTING of international experience after having featured in 15 T20Is for the senior women’s cricket team, 17-year-old all-rounder Kelis Ndhlovu, who has scored 285 runs while chipping in with 15 wickets at an impressive average of 11.46 with her wily left-arm unorthodox bowling, will lead Zimbabwe’s Under 19 side at the forthcoming inaugural Women’s T20 World Cup scheduled to take place in South Africa from 14 to 29 January.
She made a mark for herself as she topped the wicket-taking charts at the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier earlier this year scalping 11 wickets and has set herself apart for her remarkable batting partnership of 158 against Namibia. Michelle Mavunga is another interesting addition to the squad and she has five T20Is experience playing for the senior side. Zimbabwe is also strengthened with the presence of Kay and Kelly Ndiraya and with Tawananyasha Marumani.
The trio have been consistent performers in the preparation tours while also featuring regularly for the various academy-level games. They have Trevor Phiri as the head coach and will be looking to make a statement at the U-19 World Cup.
A 15-member Zimbabwean squad left the country on Tuesday for South Africa for the global showpiece set to feature 16 teams.
The teams are divided into four groups of four, and play each other once in the group stages. The top three in each group progress to the Super Six League stage, where qualifying teams from Group A will play against two of the qualifying teams from Group D, and qualifying teams from Group B will play against two of the qualifying teams from Group C. The top two sides from each of the Super Six Leagues will progress to the semi-finals, with the final taking place on 29 January.
Zimbabwe is a part of Group B and will square off against England, Rwanda, and Pakistan. They play England on 15 January, their continental rivals Rwanda on 17 January and Pakistan on 19 January. All the Group B encounters will be at Potchefstroom. Hosts South Africa, alongside Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe all qualified automatically for the tournament.
The United States also qualified automatically, as they were the only eligible team to compete from the Americas regional group. The four remaining places came from regional qualification groups.
The United Arab Emirates were the first team to qualify from the regional groups, after they won the Asia Qualifier. Indonesia won their three-match series against Papua New Guinea to win the East Asia-Pacific group to qualify. It was the first time that Indonesia had qualified for an ICC World Cup tournament at any level.
Rwanda won the African Qualifiers to qualify for the World Cup. It was for the first time that Rwanda had qualified for an ICC World Cup tournament at any level.
This is also the first ICC Women’s World Cup for Scotland, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Zimbabwe at any level.
Kelis Ndhlovu (c), Kelly Ndiraya, Kay Ndiraya, Adel Zimunhu, Natasha Mutomba, Vimbai Mutungwindu, Danielle Meikle, Tawananyasha Marumani, Michelle Mavunga, Olinda Chare, Kudzai Chigora, Betty Mangachena, Chipo Moyo, Faith Ndhlalambi, Rukudzo Mwakayeni