Introduced in the early 19th century, cricket is among the most widely played sports in Africa. To date, 23 countries on the continent have achieved ICC (International Cricket Council) status and are active on the sport’s world stage.
In October 1998, the Africa Cricket Association (ACA) was founded to manage the sport and help grow it throughout African countries. Their work—and the incredible skill of players born on the continent—have helped develop some truly outstanding teams.
These players hail from all areas of the continent, with some countries excelling above the rest. Below, we’ve ranked the top seven African teams.
As one of the most widely recognized countries on the continent, South Africa is home to the best cricketers in Africa and some of the best in the world . Receiving ICC status in 1909, the country has been a part of the international stage in cricket for a long time.
Even though the country was absent from the sport internationally for several years in the 1900s due to sanctions imposed because of the Apartheid regime, the team came back strong. Since 1990, the country made it to the Cricket World Cup semi-finals four times.
In test match cricket, the country is ranked fourth internationally. Only two rankings below test, South Africa is rated the sixth-best country for one-day international games. Those who enjoy formulating a cricket prediction for upcoming matches are known to back the country when they play against rivals such as Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
The country has also excelled in T20. The national team has reached the T20 World Cup semi-finals twice (in 2009 and 2014) and continues to take on the top teams in the world.
Also known as the Chevrons, the Zimbabwe national cricket team is one of the top teams in Africa and the world. Currently ranked 11 th in the T20 ICC rankings, the team is highly competitive and knows how to put on a great game.
Receiving its ICC status in 1981, the country (formerly known as Rhodesia) was one of the first in Africa to begin playing cricket in the 19 th century. Since then, the national team has done well, but their highest ranking in World Cup events still stands at fifth place—beaten only by South Africa and a few international teams.
The team currently ranks 10 th internationally for test match cricket and 11 th for ODI games—making it a formidable opponent for any team to compete against.
Home to a cricket team that has shown incredible progress in a short time, Namibia is considered one of the top-tier teams in Africa. The country gained ICC status in 1992 and has done well on the world stage since then.
Placing 13 th in the current T20 ICC rankings, the country has beaten European teams such as Scotland and the Netherlands. It has also previously qualified to participate in World Cup events like the T20 World Cup in 2011—finishing in 10 th place.
The team has also previously ranked in the top 20 teams internationally for both test match cricket and ODI (one-day international) matches. In both formats, the highest ranking the country has achieved is 14 th .
One of the fastest-growing African teams, Uganda has only recently begun to come into its own on the international stage. Achieving ICC status in 1998, the team previously played under the banner of the East African Cricket Team. From the early 2000s, however, the group began playing on its own, representing the country.
Currently ranked 23 rd overall in T20, the national team has made massive leaps in ranking and claiming victory over international competitors. While not yet placing in the top 20 of either test or ODI series matches, the team is showing strong growth that could see them overtake other African countries like Namibia in the future.
Granted ICC status in 1891, Kenya has been slow to gain significant traction in the international sphere. However, in recent years, the team has grown in strength and is now one of the fiercest competitors in Africa.
The team has proven its abilities by achieving third place in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. However, its highest rankings (12 th for T20 cricket in 2007 and 10 th for ODIs in 1998) occurred many moons ago.
Despite this, the country is expected to continue improving and is considered by many as a team to watch in Africa.
Although cricket began being played in Tanzania in 1890, the first match the national team ever competed in took place in 1951. While the country doesn’t have full ICC status, it was granted T20 International status in 2018 and has been an associate ICC member since 2001.
Despite this, it is only in recent years that the team has begun to show promise. In 2021, the country achieved its highest-ever ranking in T20 by placing 30 th internationally. The team has yet to rank significantly in terms of ODI and test match cricket.
With their improvement in Twenty20 matches, many believe that Tanzania could quickly become a powerhouse on the continent in this format of the sport.
As home to the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is also one of the top-ranking countries in cricket . It achieved ICC status in 2002 when it was granted an associate membership. Since then, it has been slow to make a mark in either test or ODI matches.
Regarding T20, however, the country does significantly better and is easily one of the best in the region. Its highest ranking occurred in 2019, when it placed 36 th internationally. Since then, the team has been working hard to improve this rank and take on other African countries like Tanzania.