Zimbabwe have been knocked out of contention, while Uganda joined Namibia in qualifying for the 2024 men’s T20 World Cup after they beat Rwanda in the last round of matches in the Africa leg of the qualifiers. Though Zimbabwe won their final fixture against Kenya, it was all over for them once Uganda beat Rwanda.

After asking Rwanda to bat and dismissing them for 65 in 18.5 overs, Uganda reached their target in 8.1 overs. It’s a historic occasion for Uganda, who have now qualified for a senior World Cup – either format – for the first time, though Uganda was one of the countries that made up the East Africa team at the 1975 World Cup.

As for Zimbabwe, who needed Uganda to lose their last game to stand a chance of qualifying, they did their best on the day. Batting first, they scored 217 for 4, with captain Sikandar Raza top-scoring with 82 in 48 balls and Sean Williams hitting a 26-ball 60. With the ball, then, Richard Ngarava, Ryan Burl, Raza and Williams all picked up two wickets each to stop Kenya at 107 for 8 for a 110-run win.

The result meant Zimbabwe’s poor run in World Cup qualifiers continued: they had failed to make the cut for the 2019 and 2023 ODI World Cups, after not finishing in the top two in qualifying tournaments held at home. That aside, they couldn’t take part in the 2021 T20 World Cup, because Zimbabwe Cricket had been suspended at the time by the ICC for government interference in its cricket administration, and while they did get out of the first round at the 2022 T20 World Cup, they finished last with one win in five games in the second round, which also prevented them from qualifying directly for the upcoming edition of the T20 World Cup, to be played in June in the West Indies and the USA. By not qualifying for the 2023 ODI World Cup, Zimbabwe also lost the opportunity to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.

Zimbabwe’s campaign in the ongoing T20 World Cup qualifiers started with what head coach Dave Houghton called an “embarrassingly bad” performance against Namibia, where they lost by seven wickets. To finish in the top two, assuming Namibia won all their games, Zimbabwe had to beat all their other opponents but lost their third game – after beating Tanzania – to Uganda by five wickets. That meant their qualification wasn’t in their hands anymore and Uganda’s victory against Rwanda sealed their fate.

It’s also a poor start as T20I captain for Raza. He led a near full-strength Zimbabwe side in the qualifiers after being appointed captain following a 3-2 T20I series defeat in Namibia in October, with Blessing Muzarabani back after recovering from a fractured hand. Brad Evans, who was out of action after suffering shin splits, was the only first-team player to miss out.

Source: ESPNCricinfo


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