India, Windies to test Zim readiness for ICC Under-19 T20 World Cup

The Herald

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Under-19 women’s cricket team are set to gauge their readiness for the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa with two official practice games against powerhouses India and the West Indies.

The Trevor Phiri-coached side have a date against India on Monday at Hammanskrraal. They will face the West Indies at the Tucks Oval before the group games start.

Zimbabwe are part of the 16 teams that will be participating in the newest ICC event for the first time. They are in Group B at the tournament alongside England, Pakistan and Rwanda.

The youth team have left no stone unturned in preparation for their first-ever World Cup appearance. They toured India and South Africa recently where they had training opportunities and played practice games.

The team, led by experienced all-rounder Kelis Ndhlovu, left the country for South Africa earlier this week and are hoping to use the time for bonding and to acclimatise to the conditions.

The tournament is expected to start on January 14. Zimbabwe got automatic qualification to the global showpiece.

The 11 Full-Member nations gained automatic entry and these are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe will open their campaign against England on January 15 at JB Marks Oval. They then play continental rivals Rwanda on January 17 at the North West University Oval before taking on Pakistan two days later at the same venue.

All Group B matches will be played in Potchefstroom and the top two teams will progress to the Super Six phase where qualifying teams from Group A will play against qualifying teams from Group D, and qualifying teams from Group B will play against qualifying teams from Group C.

The top two sides from each of the Super Six Leagues will progress to the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean cricket umpire Owen Chirombe and ex-national team bowler Sarah Dambanevana have been appointed among the 15 personnel to officiate at the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup set for South Africa later this month.

Chirombe, who has also officiated at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Region Qualifier 2021/22 held in Rwanda in November 2021, is adding to his growing reputation after clocking 12 years of involvement with international cricket last year.

Dambanevana, who is a member of the International Panel of ICC Development Umpires, is also enjoying a steady rise.

The ex-Lady Chevrons bowler recently made history when she became the first female to officiate in a domestic cricket final after standing in the Fifty50 Challenge decider between Eagles and Rhinos.

The two will be involved in the warm-up matches and group stage of the ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup. Nine out of the 15 officials are women, making this the highest number of female match officials to be appointed for an ICC event.

Twelve umpires and three match referees will officiate in the tournament, which will be played across four venues in the two host cities: Benoni and Potchefstroom.

Former Sri Lanka women’s team captain, Vanessa de Silva, leads the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Referees which includes former Bangladesh international cricketer Neeyamur Rashid and Zimbabwe’s Chirombe.

The tournament will also see four members of the Emirates ICC International Panel of Umpires – Wayne Knights, Ahmad Pakteen, Virender Sharma and Shahid Saikat – officiate in different matches.

Members of the International Panel of ICC Development Umpires, who will officiate at the tournament, include Zimbabwe’s Dambanevana, former Sri Lanka woman batter Dedunu de Silva, Kerrin Klaaste, Maria Abbott, Sarah Bartlett, Jasmine Naeem, Lisa McCabe and Candace la Borde.

The appointments for the tournament’s semi-finals and final will be named at the end of the League phase.

The Zimbabwe Under-19 women’s cricket team is also part of the jamboree that begins next week in South Africa.

ICC Senior Manager responsible for Umpires and Referees, Adrian Griffith, said: “We are pleased to announce the match officials who will be officiating the historic ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup.

“We are delighted that this group of officials reflects the work we have been putting in to advance women in our sport as part of the ICC’s global development strategy.

“Every appointed official has steadily made a good name for themselves in the cricket ecosystem and we look forward to watching them as they play their part in the history that will be made in South Africa.

“We wish them the best of luck and know that they will do an excellent job.”

Zimbabwe squad for ICC Under-19 Women’s World Cup 2023:

Kelis Ndhlovu (captain), 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.

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