Nigeria’s men team, the Yellow Greens, have finished in 3rd place at the ICC T-20 World Cup Qualifier, Africa finals in Lugogo and Kyambogo, Uganda as the rain washed away fixtures of both Namibia and Uganda games.
The persistent rainfall at the venues allowed only three playing days in the tournament, resulting in points sharing by teams and preventing the Yellow Greens a chance to play against Namibia and Uganda in matches 4 and 5 respectively to earn a qualification slot.
Nigeria lost the opening game to Kenya in a keenly contested battle but came back stronger to dismiss Botswana in the second game by 11 runs.
Nigeria was put in to bat first after losing the toss and could only manage a total score of 119 runs all out in 19.4 overs.
In the second innings, Nigeria defended what was considered a low total to restrict Botswana to a disappointing score of 108 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 20 overs.
Isaac Danladi was the star performer in that contest with an impressive statistics of 37 runs with the bat and taking 4 wickets for 23 runs on 4 overs.
Fired up from the victory against Botswana, Nigeria entertained their West Africa rival Ghana with the 4-0 defeat from the zonal qualifier still fresh in their minds. Nigeria again for the second time was sent in to bat and recorded an impressive score of 135 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in 20 overs.
Ademola Onikoyi played a captain’s innings, scoring 49 runs off 35 balls, strongly supported by Ovais Yousuf with 33 runs off 44 balls.
In the second innings, Nigeria controlled the game and won the match over by over before eventually serving the revenge cold by restricting Ghana to a palsy score of 107 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in 20 overs.
Vincent Adewoye was named man of the match with his contribution of 23 runs off 13 balls and 4 wickets.
The Yellow Greens were primed for one out of the 2 qualification slot with victory against Namibia or Uganda. However, “Mother Nature” had other plans as both matches were called off due to heavy rains and the points shared accordingly.
Another shock of the calendar year was in the air just like the Junior Yellow Greens’ exploit in Namibia, but the Yellow Greens will live to fight another day.
Other countries rated higher than Nigeria complained that their standard of performance have dropped immensely, but it is heartening that Nigeria Cricket’s on and off the field have improved tremendously in the last two years.
The Yellow Greens are due back in Lagos on Sunday.