Team SA women set to play for cricket gold at African Games after beating Uganda

Team SA women set to play for cricket gold at African Games after beating Uganda

Team South Africa will play for gold at the African Games after captain Nondumiso Shangase and Kayla Reyneke shone in the team's 50-run win against Uganda in the women's T20 cricket semi-final.

South Africa posted 122/4 in their 20 overs, with player of the match Shangase contributing a 42-ball 38 and Miane Smit adding 20 off 16 balls. 

Defending their total, Reyneke's brilliant bowling performance of three for 13 played a crucial role in restricting Uganda to 72 all-out, securing the result with eight balls to spare.

Uganda won the toss and chose to bowl first in the last four encounter. South Africa started strongly as the opening pair of Faye Tunnicliffe (14) and Annerie Dercksen (14) combined for 27 runs for the first wicket before both batters were dismissed by Concy Aweko (2/27) and Lorna Anyait (1/21) respectively.

After reaching 33/2 at the end of the powerplay, Captain Shangase and Jenna Evans brought calm to the proceedings, guiding Team SA to 52/2 at the halfway mark against measured Ugandan bowling.

In an effort to set an imposing total, Shangase and Evans formed a valuable 44-run partnership before Evans retired hurt on 14* off 26 balls with Team SA on 81/2 after 15 overs.

With South Africa looking dominant, Uganda, through Aweko, picked up the crucial wicket of the dangerous Shangase, resulting in two new batters, Smit (20) and Reyneke (14*), at the crease with the score on 92/3 after 17 overs.

In a free-spirited fashion, Reyneke and Smit powered South Africa into triple figures with a 25-run partnership before Smit fell in the final over to Janet Mbabazi (1/17), concluding Team SA's innings at a commendable 122/4 after 20 overs.

Defending 123 for victory, South Africa started their bowling innings with a disciplined approach. Uganda lost the early wicket of Immaculate Nakisuuyi (0) in the first over, with Jané Winster (2/12) trapping the opening batter LBW. 

Uganda ended the powerplay on 27/1, with Esther Iloku and Gloria Obukor (12) stabilizing their innings, still needing 96 runs to advance to the final.

After a solid 31-run partnership for the second wicket between Iloku and Obukor, Reyneke was brought into the attack and struck with her first ball, finding the slightest edge of Obukor's bat with wicketkeeper Karabo Meso taking a smart catch behind the stumps.

In a sublime introduction, Reyneke added two more wickets in her first over, removing Mbabazi (0) with Tunnicliffe taking a diving catch, and providing an LBW to dismiss Stephani Nampiina (0) to complete a three-wicket maiden, leaving Uganda 32/4 after eight overs.

After reaching the 10th over on 35/4, with 88 runs still required, things went from bad to worse for Uganda as Seshnie Naidu (1/9), the Player of the Match in Team SA's previous match against Nigeria, joined the party, removing Iloku for a top-score of 19 off 33 balls.

Uganda lost three more wickets rapidly as a clinical run-out by Naidu dismissed Kevin Awino (6), and two wickets from Shangase (2/15) saw Rita Musamali (6) and Sarah Walaza (0) dismissed, to see the Ugandans 52/8 after 15 overs, needing 71 runs from the remaining 30 balls.

Despite some late action with Phiona Kulume (12) and Aweko (5) in the middle, another run-out and a second wicket for Winster brought the contest to an end as Team SA secured a comprehensive 50-run win and advanced to the Gold medal match at the African Games.

South Africa will face the winners of the second semi-final between Zimbabwe and Nigeria in the final on Wednesday.

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