Nigeria’s male senior national team, the Yellow-Green sent a strong warning to teams competing for the six remaining slots of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T-20 World Cup Qualifier when they handed Kenya, one of Africa’s favourites, a shocking defeat in a warm up match on Monday.
The qualifier, which will be held at different venues in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates have Nigeria included at the expense of Zimbabwe, who was disqualified by the ICC on account of government interference in the country’s sports administration.
The Nigerian team was an automatic alternative after finishing third in an African pre-qualifier held in Kampala, Uganda earlier in May. Kenya and Namibia qualified from the event to the last leg of the qualifiers.
However, the Nigerian team that has been camped for over seven weeks including two weeks in Zimbabwe, arrived Dubai three weeks to the event and looked charged up for the event. Their victory against Kenya on Monday has beamed the spotlight on the budding players whose Nigerian federation has received commendations from ICC for impressive grassroots development.
Nigeria batted first, scoring 152 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 20overs. Kenya was bowled all out for 103 runs in 16 overs in the second innings with Nigeria’s Daniel Ajekun named Man of the Match with 73 runs off 50 balls and 4 wickets in 2 overs.
Speaking on the event, President of the Federation, Professor Yahaya Ukwenya said the win “is reassuring on the level of preparations that has gone into the team’s appearance at the event.
“It is good to know that a lot of things are coming together for the team. This is making all of us back home very optimistic of their performance when the event starts,” he said.
Nigeria is presently ranked 38 in the world and would be having her opening match against Jersey at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on October 19, 2019. The Qualifying rounds will run from October 18 to November 2nd, 2019.