By Seun Ajidagba
Nigeria Under-19 Cricket National Team today at the Senwes Park, Potchefstroom defeated Young Sierra-Leoneans by 137 runs at the Final of International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Africa Division Two.
The Junior Yellow Greens convincingly defeated Mozambique, Lesotho and Ghana in Group B to go unbeaten before dispatching Tanzania by 35 runs in the Semi-Final to book her place in the Final against Sierra-Leone who also saw off the challenge of Mozambique by 71 runs.
The Captain Slyvester Okpe, side batted first scoring 242 runs for loss of 9 wickets in 50 overs with standout performer being opening batsman Olayinka Olaleye, posting 110 runs off 124 balls, Samuel Mba 62 runs and hero of Semi Final Segun Ogundipe who added 29 runs in a high scoring.
Nigeria’s best bowler at the tournament Peter Aho led the onslaught by claiming 5 wickets, 35 runs, 1 maiden in 4 overs while the duo of Mohammed Taiwo and Abdulrahman Jimoh both claimed 2 wickets 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 both 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.
The trio of Nigeria (Champions), Sierra-Leone (Runners-Up) and Tanzania (Third Place) have all qualified from ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Division Two to Division One where they would be facing countries such as Namibia, Kenya and Uganda.
Meanwhile, Vice President of Nigeria Cricket Federation, Mr Uyi Akpata has congratulated the Coaches led by Mr. Uthe Ogbimi and Tamuno John for prosecuting a successful outing.
“I must say I am proud to be a member of the Nigeria Cricket Federation Board under the able leadership of Professor Yahaya Ukwenya , who made everything available for the team to excel.
“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.