Gaborone - Botswana moved their preparations for the Africa World T20 qualifiers in Uganda next month a notch-up, when they played a three-match friendly series against Zimbabwe’s provincial side, Matebeleland Tuskers.
Botswana and Namibia qualified as the region's representatives at the Africa qualifiers, which would be held at the end of May.
The two join the hosts, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, with the sides that finish in the top two, progressing to the final round of qualifiers, which England hosts later in the year.
Botswana has begun preparations for the Uganda trip and played three games against Matebeleland Tuskers over the weekend. However, the Tuskers exposed the hosts' batting frailties, as they scored under a run a ball in all the three matches, but still emerged victorious. Botswana won the scheduled four match series 3-0, with the last game not played due to poor weather.
Botswana coach, Joseph Angara said the team has to eliminate minor mistakes and be more ruthless, including capitalising on catches.
His side dropped a catch when the third game of the series was delicately poised, which in the end, saw the Zimbabwe side romp home.
"We have to believe and back ourselves. Batsmen must spend more time at the crease," Angara said.
The former Kenyan batsman still fancies his team's chances in Uganda, and said it is key for them to win the first two games, if they are to progress.
Tuskers coach, Njabulo Ncube said it was key for his side to give Botswana the much needed match practice ahead of their trip to Uganda.
"We have to help them in their efforts to do well in the qualifiers," Ncube said.
Botswana captain, Karabo Motlhanka welcomed the Tuskers challenge, saying it was a step-up to play a side from a Test-playing nation.
Like Angara, Motlhanka is confident Botswana will qualify for the final round of the World T20 qualifiers.
Botswana will play two more friendly matches before they play in the qualifiers.
Namibia, Nigeria and Uganda are likely to pose the biggest threat, with Kenya, a former powerhouse, now on the wane.
Botswana will find comfort in that they beat their south western neighbours, Namibia in the regional qualifiers played in Gaborone last year, after so many years of near misses.