Ghana Tops ICC World Twenty20 Africa Qualifier in Lagos

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* Cricket world body hails NCF over good hosting of tournament

Ghana finished top of the World Twenty20 Africa Qualifier ‘A’ standings after they beat hosts Nigeria by four wickets in Lagos at the weekend.

The Ghanaian team set the tone for what proved to be a commanding win when they removed Nigerian captain Chimezie Onwuzulike with the first ball of the innings at the Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket Oval.

Kofi Bagabena produced a superb display with the ball, taking 4-22 in his 3.3 over spell as Ghana bowled Nigeria out for just 73.

In reply, Samson Awiah top scored for Ghana with 26, while wicketkeeper Julius Mensah backed up his six dismissals with a quickfire 20.

Ghana produced a superb display with the ball on their way to victory over Nigeria

The performances from the two players saw Ghana comfortably reach their target, although the win was perhaps slightly nervier than it should have been given they were only chasing 74 for victory.

Ghana, who had beaten Nigeria earlier in the week, ended the tournament with five wins from their six matches after their clash with Sierra Leone was abandoned without a ball being bowled yesterday.

Ghana and Nigeria both progressed to the next round of qualification for the World T20 in Australia in two years‘ time. Sierra Leone finished their campaign on a high as they beat The Gambia by eight wickets.

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) through her Development Manager for Africa, Mrs Patricia Kambarami, has said that the world body was pleased with the management capacity of the current board of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF).

Kambarani, who was in Nigeria to oversee the just concluded the ICC World T20 Africa Qualifier said that what the NCF put up during the eight-day tournament was far above the benchmark set for hosting the event.

“When Nigeria bidded to host this event, we had doubt and that was based on what I saw when I came around in December 2017. We felt four months was too short to tick all the boxes required to host an ICC event of this nature; but they kept pushing and eventually got it.

“Coming to this event, all of us in ICC were more than surprised to see the state they have been able to put the facility and the level of coordination, enthusiasm and openness among this present crop of Nigeria Cricket board. I must say the state of the Cricket Oval in Lagos now can match a lot of international grounds. I just hope they don’t rest here,” she said

Vice Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the qualifier that featured Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and host Nigeria, Mr Kofi Sagoe, said the federation was focused and do all in her capacity to extend the game’s popularity among Nigerian.

“We have been somewhere better than where we are now. I am equally glad that we have some focused and passionate cricketers who are determined to get Nigeria back to a prime spot in global Cricket.

“The quality of game and organisation that we had at the ICC World T20 Africa Qualifier was made possible by the dedication of the present board and some sponsors that are currently giving us huge support including; Lagos State Government, Transport Services Limited, Eroton Exploration and Production and Visionscape.”

Kofi however applauded hosting the ICC World T20 Africa ‘A’ Qualifier Tournament which according to him is a win-win situation for the country in terms of facilities upgrade while for the players it was an opportunity to get quality games under their belt but the bigger beneficiary has to be Club Cricket Committee League who are the organisers of cricket league in the country and it is also the main pool where national team players are selected.

The eight-day tournament which ran from Saturday, April 14 was concluded on Saturday, April 21st, with Ghana putting up a brilliant display to lead the Zone ‘A’ qualifier with Nigeria finishing in second place while Sierra Leone and The Gambia were placed third and fourth respectively.

He concluded by saying the body language of ICC Development Manager Africa, Mrs Patricia C. Kambarami speaks volume of Nigeria proving to be a deserving host and if everything goes according to plan we should be hosting more tournaments in the near future and from a position of authority Nigeria is ever prepared.

Koffi, who also is the Lagos State Cricket Association Chairman also heaped praises on the Coaches and Players for putting up a great display at the competition but quickly noted going forward that it is imperative for the “Yellow Green” to up the ante if we hope to compete with the big boys in the elite divisions.

“Though we understand that the present crop of players in the National Team is a blend of experience and youth which makes it difficult to quickly get a formidable side that would be globally competitive.

“But again we need to be honest with ourselves that this present level we are competing is not where we belong based on the past achievements of Nigeria playing at World Cricket League Division 5 and in repeating that feat it will take some 2 years to finally get a strong team.

“For us at Lagos State Cricket Association we are working closely with Nigerian Cricket Federation to further popularize the game as well as involve more grassroots participation.

“Either we like it or not the future of the sport belongs to this level and the time to harness those raw talents is now”.

Points Table

Team

Played

Won

Lost

Tied

No Result

Points

NRR

Ghana

6

5

0

0

1

11

2,477

Nigeria

6

4

2

0

0

8

1,609

Sierra Leone

6

2

3

0

1

5

-0,113

The Gambia

6

0

6

0

0

0

-3,776