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Debutants, Nigeria file out against world power, Australia today

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Nigeria will play its first ever Cricket World Cup match today when they meet one of the biggest teams in the world, Australia at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley, South Africa at the on-going U-19 World Cup.

The match has odds in favour of the Aussies, despite their opening loss to West Indies, but the president of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), Prof. Yahaya Ukwenya said in a pre-match interview that the match was not decided until the last over.“I am looking forward to the Nigerian team play a good game and compete at their best and hope that we come out with a positive result,” he said.

The Nigerian U-19 team, otherwise referred to as the Junior Yellow Green, has gone 10 matches unbeaten in all competitions since 2018; which culminated in their picking the continent’s sole ticket at the African Division One International Cricket Council’s U-19 World Cup qualifiers in Namibia in March 2019.

According to Ukwenya, the team started preparing for today since the qualification.“We must understand the context here, we are playing at the World Cup for the first time and we are playing our first game against a team that is arguably the best in the world in Cricket, given the number of World Cup they have won at different levels of the game….

“For Nigeria, being at the World Cup is a victory already for us. Every shot played and missed will go down for us as a victory, but I am looking forward to a great game,” he added.Already, the Australian team have suffered a shock defeat from West Indies’ side in their opening match on Saturday by three wickets to lay down a marker at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley.

Nyeem Young was the match-winner for the Windies with a priceless 61 from 69 balls just as Australia was bearing down on his side’s tail. Australia batted first and was bowled out for just 179. Jake Fraser-McGurk fought a lone battle, with a defiant 84 from 97 balls at the top of the order.

Wickets tumbled around him though as Seales (four for 49) and Matthew Forde (three for 24) ran riot. Patrick Rowe struck 40 to give the young Aussies a sniff, but 179 was well below par.

Windies slipped to 92 for five in the chase, thanks chiefly to a fine spell of leg-spin bowling by Tanveer Sangha whose promise has already seen him feature in the Big Bash League.His four for 30 ran the Windies desperately close, and they breathed a sigh of relief when his allocation came to an end. Beyond the mystery of Sangha, West Indies found comfort through Young’s mature knock and got home with three overs and as many wickets to spare.


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NCFYahaya Ukwenya
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