Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Mirror At Kwibuka: Appraisal Of The Dance Of Eight


  • June 28, 2022
  • in Women ,
  • 0

When a child trips, he continues on his way. When an elder stumbles, he goes back to examine the cause of his missteps. Probably to remove the cause, or to learn how not to fall whenever next he goes through that path again. In every event in life, there are lessons. Whether or not we identify those lessons is where growth comes in.

Kwibuka has come and gone. And after 32 intense, edge-of-the-seat clashes, we take a look back at performances, moments, and lessons the tournament gave to us.

Each nation put its best foot forward in a competition that proved to be more than just a commemorative one.

To some, it was a chance to visit a different continent and experience an entirely new flavor of the game. To some, it was an opportunity to reclaim supremacy after being away for a period. To some, it was a stage to show off their young string of talents and to others, it was an avenue for growth and development.

The winners of the competition, Tanzania, who were unfortunately forced to pull out of the last edition due to COVID, came back to emphatically win the title and underline their superiority in this format of the game on the continent. After some period away from the tournament, coming back to the biggest one they have ever participated in yet, with newcomers from Europe and South America, Tanzania won every single game they played to coast to a flawless triumph in Kigali. With all their dominance though, their statistics make for interesting interpretation. They only have one representative (Fatuma Kibasu) in the top 10 batters of the competition and only one bowler (Nara Saidi) in the top 6 bowlers of the competition. It either means their team was overly reliant on a few individuals, or others did not get the chance to express themselves.

Whatever you want to make of that, we will leave it to you.

Coming in as runners-up are the gallant ladies from Kenya. Interestingly, it was gathered from the Women’s Cricket Director at Cricket Kenya, Pearlyne Omamo, that the team presented was a young side. Are you thinking what we are thinking? If a young, relatively inexperienced side can stroll all the way to the final to lose to the eventual winners, imagine what the performance of a much more experienced team would have been at Kwibuka. Perhaps if the regular line-up was maintained, It would likely have been a different name on that trophy. Even more impressive was the performance of Queentor Abel. She punched way above her weight as she went home with the MVP award for her all-around performance with the ball, the bat, and on the field.

Now that Tanzania is on its tail, it will be interesting to see how the team matures into future events, perhaps at the next Kwibuka.

With two representatives in the top 10 of the bowling chart, a whopping 5 in the top 6 of the batting chart, and 4 in the top 10 of the fielding charts, Uganda ladies were nothing short of dominant and bullish.

Even though they finished in 3rd place, their healthy NRR (the healthiest of the tournament) points to the fact that they did not come to play. With the bat, they were ruthless, and with the ball and on the field, they were very frugal. We should not be too surprised though, this team is fresh from their triumph over Nepal in a 5-match series that they won 3-2. Visiting an associate nation, and defeating them on home soil is no mean feat. Little wonder they dominated in Kwibuka. We cannot wait to see what these ladies will bring next year as they will look to challenge Kenya and Tanzania.

The level of magnanimity and large-heartedness shown by the hosts is something that every sport needs to study. Hosting the competition annually for 8 years and how not having at least one of the trophies speaks of the best example of selflessness that there could ever be.

The bulk of this Rwandan side has been together for a while and it is little wonder they have formed a solid unit, playing together with so much fluidity and understanding. Star lady Henriette Ishimwe reminded the continent of why she was drafted into the FairBreak Invitational in UAE last month. Featuring in the top 5 of the MVP table, and is joint top in the field with 8 dismissals as an outfielder. Captain Fantastic, Diane Bimenyimana also led her team from the front as she finished in the top 5 of the batter's leaderboard.

Nigeria, the only West African representative, was present at the tournament with one of the youngest teams (by age), and with 2 debutants on the side. It was a great mix of experience and youth with some new names giving impressive shows of themselves even among the list of regular suspects. Their bowling performance saw 3 of their bowlers featured in the top 10 charts of the best performing bowlers for the tournament. The explosive Salome Sunday could not be kept out of the lights as she finished 7th both in the fielding leaderboard and the batting leaderboard.

A fifth place overall finish would have been a tad disappointing for them but the biggest satisfaction should come in the fact that impressionable talents were given the needed exposure and the coaching crew went back home with loads of lessons.

Newcomers Brazil surely did not fly all the way across the Atlantic just to make up numbers. They sure gave a good account of themselves as they finished in 6th place just behind the West Africans. Inspirational captain Roberta Moretti Avery, with her infectious smile, even notched up a 52 not out in their victory against Botswana on a ground she had never been before. Her performance with the bat placed her in 13th place on the batting leaderboard, while Marie Eduarda Ribeiro also finished 13th on the bowling charts. The entire team did not only come to compete but they brought all of their samba vibes with them, which made them one of the most adored teams in the tournament.

They even chipped in with some community service before the tournament games began. We are willing to place a bet that the whole continent will be looking forward to seeing their charming disposition again in another 12 months.

One of the shining lights in the Botswana team, Florence Samanyika, once again stood up to be counted as she continued from where she stopped last year. Her performance both with the leather and the willow placed her 8th overall on the final MVP table, which makes her one of the best genuine all-rounders in the competition.

Unlike last year when they anchored the table, their solitary win (against Germany) this year meant that they finished better than they did last year; which in itself spells reasonable improvement and development in their game. The win would surely have added some determination to their preparation going forward and teams need to watch out for them next year - for we foresee another step up the table in the next edition.

Another darling of the competition brought with them lots of European sauce with the German toughness. A quick glance at the final table may suggest that they came just to participate but a deep dive into the statistics will reveal that they had plenty to showcase.

Captain Christina Gough spoke with her bat all through the tournament, averaging 24.86 with the bat and earning herself a 4th place overall finish. That is in spite of the presence of the more experienced veterans of the tournament. She also finished 6th overall MVP with her contributions with the ball and on the field. Asmita Kohli also featured in the top 11 of the tournament's best bowlers with her return of 10 wickets in just 8 games.

Outside the games and the healthy competition that Kwibuka gave us, the memories will forever endure. The friendships made will continue to foster and the solidarity will continue to grow. Rwanda has shown the world how cricket can be used to propagate humanity. It is our sincere hope that many more nations all over the globe will continue to replicate this memorable experience at Kigali.

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