Nigeria helped themselves to two victories on Day Three – Sunday, to maintain their position at the top of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub Regional Africa B Qualifier standings with eight points.
Victories over Eswatini (118 runs) and then the Gambia (nine wickets) means Nigeria are now firmly in charge of the eight-nation competition with two spots at stake to the Africa Qualifier next year.
Their morning win over Eswatini was thanks to Ashmit Shreshta’s 76 from 49 balls and then Isaac Okpe’s brutal 53 from just 17 deliveries. He hammered four sixes and as many fours, to lift the Yellow Greens to 221 for seven, and set a new record for his country’s fastest ever half-century (16 balls).
They then restricted Eswatini to 103 for nine, with Okpe nabbing two for 15 to cap a fine morning’s work at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) in Kicukiro District, Kigali.
In the other Sunday morning action at Gahanga Stadium, Mozambique were too good for Cameroon, bowling them out for 95, and then rushing to the target with just one wicket down. Camate Bez Raposo (three for 19) and Jose Bulele took three scalps apiece, as Mozambique kept a firm grip on proceedings.
The chase was efficient, Francis Damiao Couana hammering three sixes and fours in a 13-ball 33. Bulele added a steady 40 not out, to see his side home with nine overs to spare.
In the afternoon session, Nigeria made very light work of the Gambia. They rolled them over for just 42, with Okpe again amongst the wickets. Youngster Ridwan Abdul Kareem helped himself to three for 6, which was enough for the Nigerian junior captain to scoop the player of the match gong.
In the final game of the day, Tanzania got the better of a struggling Ghana side. The West Africans, fancied to challenge this week, were kept to 121 for seven, a score helped hugely by Daniel Anefie’s 46 from just 26 balls. He spanked three sixes and fours, to give his bowlers something to work with.
Young Richmond Baaleri chipped in with 21 not out, before snaring career-best figures of four for 12.
Despite his effort, Tanzania were bolstered by a savage 56 from Ivan Ismail Selemani. He only needed 21 balls, hammering four sixes and seven fours. That did the heavy lifting for the chase, despite Ghana taking regular wickets.
Tanzania ultimately reached their target with 33 balls to spare, to stay in the hunt for one of the two qualifying spots up for grabs this week.
Action continues with the Sierra Leone fixture for a double header. They lock horns with Eswatini in the morning and then wrap up the day with a dicey one against Ghana at IPRC whereas Tanzania will be looking to inch closer to runaway leaders Nigeria when they battle ‘surprise package’ Mozambique this morning.
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