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South Africa Cricket News

Under-strength South Africa skittled for 71 to lose to Kenya in African Games T20I

Kenya cricketer Collins Obuya
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

South Africa were beaten by Kenya in the African Games today (March 18), in a game with full T20 international status despite the Proteas fielding a junior team.

The Full Member side, who have chosen to send an under-25 team to the continental competition, were skittled for 71 to lose by 70 runs.

Kenya beat South Africa – what happened

Kenya won the toss and elected to bat, putting up 141-6. Collins Obuya was the star, hitting 58 off 47 opening the batting. The 42-year-old is a Kenya cricketing stalwart, having made his ODI debut all the way back in 2001, before the vast majority of the South Africa team were born. Obuya was a member of the Kenya side that qualified for the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, beating Full Members Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe along the way.

In reply, 18-year-old leg-spinner Aarnav Patel was the star, taking 5-15 on T20I debut. South Africa captain George van Heedren, who had made a century in his side’s opener against hosts Ghana, was the only batter to make it to 20. Lucas Oluoch chipped in with 2-10, while Shem Ngoche claimed 2-18.

What are the African Games?

The African Games is a multi-sport competition, with cricket being played at the event for the first time. Eight teams are involved, with Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania and Nigeria the other teams participating. There has been some debate over the status of games, but the ICC website lists them as full T20Is, with Cricket Namibia confirming the same on X.

Despite this, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have all sent significantly understrength sides. This has opened the door for some lesser lights to shine. Uganda have won both games so far, though face South Africa in their final group stage clash. Namibia, who cruised through the T20 World Cup qualifier, are bottom of their group after defeat to Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Tanzania beat Nigeria in their opening game.

Given the games are full internationals, ranking points are on offer. The T20I rankings will be used in part to decide who qualifies automatically for the 2026 T20 World Cup, with the top eight finishers at the 2024 T20 World Cup and the next four best teams in the rankings making the cut. South Africa are sixth, Namibia 11th and Zimbabwe 13th as it stands.

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