First victory for Zimbabwe at Netball World Cup

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Makunde in action during Zimbabwe's win against Sri Lanka

Cape Town – Zimbabwe had no problem in sweeping past Sri Lanka in a Group E match at the Netball World Cup 2023, scoring a runaway 71-36 victory.

It was their first after four losses on the trot. Sri Lanka have yet to win a game in Cape Town.

The Gems’ only previous participation at the World Cup was in 2019 where they finished eighth. Five of their players – Sharon Bwanali, Felistus Kwangwa, Claris Kwaramba, Sharleen Makusha and Joice Takaidza – who were in Liverpool four years ago, are in Cape Town.

This is the 11th time Sri Lanka has been in action at the World Cup with Chathurangi Jayasooriya playing in her fourth tournament after making her World Cup debut in 2011 in Singapore.

Zimbabwe got off to a flying start scoring four unanswered goals, prompting an immediate switch around of positions in the Sri Lankan team that took to court.

Goal attack Semini Alwis was first moved to wing attack and then to wing defence before being taken off.

Felistus Kwangwa, who reached the 100th mark on Sunday against Tonga, replaced Takadanaishe Zimusi on goal defence for Zimbabwe.

Progress Moyo was impressive on wing attack, dictating play in mid-court and feeding quality ball through to the Zimbabwe goal circle.

Shooters Nalani Makunde and Nicole Muzanenamo made full use of what was presented to them, missing only one goal and handing their team a healthy 33-22 lead at halftime.

Tharjini Sivalingam, at 2.06 metres the tallest player at the World Cup, made a brief three-minute appearance halfway through the second quarter for Sri Lanka.

The third quarter produced more of the same with Zimbabwe completely outplaying Sri Lanka. Their movement across court was effortless, creating enough space to execute their game plan.

In the circle, Muzanenamo had some impressive split landings despite her diminutive stature to get her as close as possible to the post for a shot, which she sank without fail. She was rewarded for her outstanding play with the most valuable player award.

The Gems saved the best for last, sinking 19 goals and only letting Sri Lanka land 6 in the final 15 minutes of the one-sided match.

Most Valuable Player: Nicole Muzanenamo (Zimbabwe)
Goal Shooting Percentage: Zimbabwe 86.6% / Sri Lanka 81.8%
Penalty Count (Contact and Obstruction) : Zimbabwe 67 / Sri Lanka 32
Quarter scores: 17-10 / 33-22 / 52-30 / 71-36

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