Victoria Pearls after winning the 2022 Nepal T20I series

Victoria Pearls had a strong 2022 that gave the management an opportunity of exposing many players to international cricket.

The team was missing some core players for their 1st engagement to Namibia early in 2022 with players such as Phiona Khulume, Sarah Akiteng, Susan Kakai, Shakira Shadiq, and Leona Babirye a shot at international cricket.

Victoria Pearls were humbled in the Tri-Nation Series that had Namibia and Zimbabwe losing all their five games in the tournament. However, positives were picked by the team with Phiona Khulume and Sarah Akiteng making an impression while Janet Mbabazi finally came of age and stood up for the team in some crunch moments.

The team then toured Asia for the first time with a trip to Nepal for 5 T20i matches. Nepal is ranked higher than Uganda in the global rankings but once bat met ball, the Ugandans won 3 games on the bounce. The series win healed some wounds from Namibia with Uganda climbing back to 19th from 21st in the World rankings. Janet Mbabazi had some grand all-rounder performances which earned her the MVP title from the series.

Uganda made a return to the Kwibuka after missing 2021 due to Covid and two losses to Tanzania and Kenya in the groups hurt their chances of making the finals and eventually having to settle for a 3rd place finish.

The end of year four-nation tournament in Nairobi saw the girls win their second silverware in the year. The Victoria Pearls getting some revenge over neighbours Kenya and Tanzania enroute to the title. Janet Mbabazi had another fine all-round performance that saw her win the Player of the tournament award. The return of Immaculate Nakisuyi, Stephanie Nampiina, Irene Alumo, Proscovia Alako and Esther Iloku boasted the squad as they prepare for a defining 2023.

In 2023, Victoria Pearls will make a maiden appearance at the All Africa Games in Ghana in August and the all-important 2024 T20 World Cup qualifiers that will be held in June. The experience gained by new players such as Khulume and Akiteng plus the form of Mbabazi makes the Victoria Pearls are more improved side with the experience of Nakisuyi and Alumo.

Victoria Pearls’ captain Consy Aweko finished 2022 as the highest wicket-taker in Women’s Cricket with 40 scalps. Aweko is very quiet customer who does all the talking with the ball and has grown into the leadership role having taken over a broken team.

The heroics of 2017 when they were crowned African queens and qualified for the global event are still very fresh in the memory of the team and 2023 might be the year for some deja vu.

Denis has represented Uganda in international cricket events including the World Cup. He is currently the captain of Wanderers Cricket Club.

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