Rwanda will face Pakistan at the JB Marks Oval on Sunday, January 15 in a cagey Group B opener of the 2023 ICC U19 Women's World Cup which is underway in South Africa. The game kicks off at 10am, Kigali Time.
Rwanda qualified for the maiden global cricket event after defeating Tanzania by seven wickets in the final of the African qualifiers in September 2022 whereas Pakistan were handed an automatic spot for being a permanent member of ICC.
In terms of preparations, both teams have been well equipped as Pakistan played some friendly games in Asia. Their pre-tournament games were honored earlier this week as they beat Ireland before losing to New Zealand by two wickets.
Rwanda on the other hand beat Indonesia by five runs, lost to New Zealand by 63 runs and defeated Ireland in their final preparatory game by one run.
Sunday's duel promises to be exciting with each of the sides hoping to start the campaign with a win which is enough for either side to progress to the next stage of the tournament which is the Super Six.
Rwanda's skipper Gisele Ishimwe is brimming with absolute confidence as she emphasized she and her teammates are in good shape and well poised for action.
"We're all fine as no player has an injury. We are prepared for the Sunday game," Ishimwe said in a pre-match press conference on Saturday.
"There are four teams in our group and we are required to win at least one game to qualify into another round. What we promise Rwandans is that we're ready to fight in such games as we always do. We can move from this group to the next stage," she added.
Both coaches are at par in terms of experience. Pakistani coach Mohsin Kamal has vast experience at such big occasions, having played and coached in cricket for many years.
The 59-year-old head coach is being assisted by Muhammad Kamran Hussain with Muhammad Usman Shahid being the team's tactical analyst.
Rwanda also has Zimbabwe's Leonard Nhamburo who is among the best cricketers from the Southern of Africa as their head coach.
Nhamburo previously coached the Namibian national cricket team where he qualified them to the World Cup in Scotland. He also won the T20 Africa Invitational Competition with Rwanda in Nigeria in 2022.
On paper, it looks to be a dicey game looking at Pakistan's pedigree in world cricket and Rwanda's confidence coupled with the superb talents they have at their disposal.