Vanuatu, the lowest-ranked side at the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup Qualifier, stunned the cricketing world by beating Zimbabwe, a formidable opponent by six wickets after bowling them out for their lowest T201 score of 61.

The Vanuatu Holiday Inn Resort Squad, who are appearing at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier for the first time, stole the spotlight on day one in Abu Dhabi. They limited Zimbabwe to 61 runs in just 13.3 overs.

This is the first time any Vanuatu cricket team has defeated a full-member nation. Just days ago, they made history by facing off against Sri Lanka, another full-time member, in a practice match.

Yesterday’s opening chase was executed with ease, thanks to the exception performance from Nasimana Navaika, who earned the player of the match title for her remarkable 4-wicket haul off and 21 runs.

17-year-old Vanessa Vira also made a significant impact, claiming an impressive three-wicket haul, while Rachel Andrew’s consecutive 2-wicket hauls added to Zimbabwe’s woes.

Despite Zimbabwe’s efforts to salvage their innings, Vanuatu’s relentless bowling kept striking at regular intervals.

Coach Joshua Rasu expressed immense pride in his players, describing them as a tight-knit family. “Facing Zimbabwe in their debut at this qualifier seemed daunting, but our victory speaks volumes about our dedication and skill,” he remarked.

“These girls are here to play, and their resilience and talent continue to impress. I have full faith in their capabilities, and this team is ready to take on any challenge that comes their way.”

Vanuatu’s remarkable win over Zimbabwe marks a significant milestone for their women’s cricket team, signaling their emergence as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.

Last year, Vanuatu defeated regional rivals Papua New Guinea who are ranked 11, for the first time on their way to winning the EAP Qualifier.

The team’s journey from initiating a crowdfunding campaign to fund their own kits and equipment, to pulling off an upset in their opening match against a strong team, will undoubtedly remain a huge success story in Vanuatu’s history.

Vanuatu will take on Netherlands, ranked 14th in ICC Women’s T20 internationals, in their second match 10pm today.

They will compete against Ireland on Thursday next week before playing United Arab Emirates on Friday.