PHOTO: Nigeria Cricket Federation
Nigeria’s junior national cricket team yesterday at the Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, South Africa beat Sierra Leone by 137 runs to win the International Cricket Council (ICC) U-19 World Cup Qualifier Africa Division Two title.
Nigeria had at the weekend beaten Tanzania in one of the semifinals to qualify for the 2020 ICC World Cup. It also earned the team promotion to the Division One cadre.
The Junior Yellow Greens convincingly defeated Mozambique, Lesotho and Ghana in Group B to go unbeaten before dispatching Tanzania by 35 runs in the semifinal to qualify for te final.
Yesterday, the Captain Slyvester Okpe side batted first scoring 242 runs for loss of nine wickets in 50 overs with standout performer being opening batsman, Olayinka Olaleye. Olaleye posted 110 runs off 124 balls, Samuel Mba 62 had runs and semifinal hero, Segun Ogundipe added 29 runs.
Nigeria’s best bowler at the tournament, Peter Aho, led the onslaught by claiming five wickets, 35 runs, one maiden in four overs, while the duo of Mohammed Taiwo and Abdulrahman Jimoh claimed two wickets apiece to reduce their opponents to a paltry 105 runs all out in 31 overs.
The Sierra Leoneans in response to the intimidating scores Nigeria recorded in the first innings found it difficult to cope in the batting crease but the likes of Captain George Ngeba (31), Osman Sankoh and Emmanuel Akpo had 14 runs, while Haroun Kamara added 13 runs in a disappointing effort from the side that waltzed through every opponent up until the moment they met Nigeria in the final.
Sierra-Leone and Tanzania, which won the third place game, were also promoted to Division One, where they will face countries Namibia, Kenya and Uganda.
Reacting to the victory, Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) President, Professor Yahaya Ukwneya said the team deserved all accolades for the sterling show throughout championship. He congratulated the Coaches, led by Uthe Ogbimi and Tamuno John, for a successful outing.
“The boys were very dedicated and were disciplined all though the stages of the event. It is not time to celebrate because we have Division One Qualifiers, Inter Continental Qualifiers before the World Cup Proper where we would face countries like England, India, Pakistan, South Africa and other top nations,” he said.