Rwanda's fairytale run continued in the inaugural ICC Under 19-Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa, with a surprise four-wicket victory over West Indies. Having beaten Zimbabwe in the Group stage, Rwanda's upset victory over West Indies in the Super Sixes stage is now their biggest victory till date.
It was the calm and confident Gisele Ishimwe who saw Rwanda home by four wickets, as they chased down the West Indian effort of 70 all out, with 10 balls to spare. Gisele's 31 not out, from 53 balls, was full of maturity and clarity, knowing what was at stake for her and her country.
Earlier, the West Indies had won the toss and elected to bat first. They could not have predicted a Marie Tumukunde spell wreaking havoc on their plans, with a four-wicket burst that stopped their scoring in its tracks.
An exceptional four for eight in 3.3 overs was her return, getting the dangerous Jannillea Glasgow caught in the deep, before bowling Lena Scott out two balls later.
She then trapped both captain, Ashmini Munisar and Abini St. Jean leg-before, as the wheels fell off the Windies' innings. Marie was not alone in taking four scalps. Sylvia Usabyimana did the damage upfront, as Rwanda rotated their bowlers frequently.
She had Naijanni Cumberbatch stumped without scoring, and she removed the well-set Realeanna Grimmond (18 off 21 balls) in the same fashion two overs later.
In between those two wickets, she also had Djenaba Joseph caught by Gisele for seven. For all their efforts, the West Indies could not get any momentum going with the bat, as Rwanda's slow-bowling ruthlessly subscribed to a wicket-to-wicket line to bowl West Indies out for 70.
The slow surface was not easy to score on and Rwanda also lost wickets in clusters, but there were crucial contributions from Merveille Uwase (10) and Cynthia Tuyizere (12), to keep the scoreboard moving.
Those runs upfront also meant there was less for Gisele to do at the back-end, with the pressure mounting, especially when Henriette Ishimwe and Geovanis Uwase both fell on their very first deliveries respectively.
Gisele needed someone to stay with her and she eventually found an ally in Rosine Irera (8 not out from 14 balls). Together, they added 31 priceless runs to move from a precarious 40 for six to chase down 71.
Gisele did the bulk of the scoring, farming the strike and picking off the West Indian attack. Fittingly, she hit the winning run with 10 balls to spare, sparking a sea of Rwandan yellow running onto the field to celebrate.
Brief Scores: West Indies 70 all out in 16.3 overs (Realeanna Grimmond 18, Marie Tumukunde 4/8, Sylvia Usabyimana 4/20) lost to Rwanda 71/6 in 18.2 overs (Gisele Ishimwe 31 not out, Cynthia Tuyizere 12, Ashmini Munisar 1/8) by four wickets.