Strongroom make debut in the African continent
Gahanga Stadium, Kigali, 2/23/2020
Rwanda XI won by 2 wickets
Rwanda XI: 109-2
View the Scorecard
After congregating in Kigali, we finally made our way to the lovely Gahanga stadium for our first match in Africa - a T20 against one formulation of their premier players, and the strongest opposition we would encounter. This game was also streamed live on YouTube, with commentary - the first time this had been achieved in Rwanda.
Stadium manager, and former national captain Eric Dusingizimana gathered us into a circle on the outfield and delivered an excellent introduction to Rwandan cricket. David P won the toss on the grass surface, and we got off to a decent start (36-0 off 6.5 overs), but then wickets fell in clusters, and we were disappointed with our final total of 106. Only Mitch (25) and Clinton (30) made it into double figures, and we struggled against the slow bowlers, in particular leg-spinner Kevin Irakoze (3-13) and finger-spinner Eric Niyomugabo (3-18). Vinay trod on his stumps as he took a big step back to execute a lavish pull shot (which actually raced to the boundary!). Rwanda XI fielded excellently throughout, as evident in their pre-match drills.
The sit-down lunch was sensational, as it was to be for every day that followed. On fare was a superb combination of pasta salad, salad, roast potatoes, plantain, meat curry, sweet potatoes - and every day was different in the selection we could choose from. Chef was also a big character.
In response, Rwanda XI were largely untroubled, and they reached the target with the loss of only two wickets in the seventeenth over. All of their four batsmen made good contributions, and only Joe with two LBWs caused any disruption and measure of control (2-13). Vinay dropped a difficult one-handed chance at short mid-wicket, and Tim manhandled a huge strike over the long-on boundary for six, running at full pelt, but otherwise we simply weren’t strong enough to make any serious inroads. This was a tough but enjoyable introduction to Rwandan cricket. We did not disgrace ourselves, and emerged with a measure of the challenges that lied ahead.
Written By: J.Gower