Nigeria beat Ghana, battle Rwanda in women T20i Cricket final
Nigeria recorded revenge of sorts, yesterday when the women’s cricket national team defeated their Ghanaian counterparts to qualify for the final of the ongoing Women T20i Invitational in Lagos.
Although it was in a different sport, yesterday’s defeat of Ghana is some consolation for a nation that lost its bid to qualify for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup to Ghana.
While Tuesday’s football match at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, had fans sitting on the edges of their seats till end, lovers of cricket at the Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket Oval had no such worries as the Nigerian women overran Ghana for a third straight victory in the weeklong tournament.
Ghana won the toss and elected to bat only to be limited to 58 runs in 20 overs for the loss of eight wickets. The Nigerian Women’s team needed only 9.5 overs to drown the Ghanaian hope with 15-year-old Lilian Ude scoring the first hat trick of the tournament in the process to emerge the player of the match.
At the end, Nigeria’s Coach, Onome Oghenekevwe, expressed his delight in the performance of his team, saying it was borne out of huge commitment from the players as well as hours of hard work.
“I think the team is shaping up well and the hours of practice and commitments is being reflected the results here. The win against Ghana today tested the team’s discipline and they responded well.
Our next match against Rwanda is crucial and I think the mindset and the form the players should deliver a win for us,” he said.
Nigeria and Rwanda have both carded three wins each so far in the five-nation tournament, leaving today’s encounter as a decider for the finals.
Sierra Leone will also be taking on The Gambia in their final quest to seal their third-place standing after etching wins over Ghana and losing to Nigeria and Rwanda. A win will fetch them a comfortable place ahead of Ghana, who has one win as well from the 106 runs victory over Gambia.
Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) President, Uyi Akpata, said he is pleased with the level of professionalism displayed by all involved in the tournament.
“The upside for the Federation beyond the women’s team success so far, is the level of upskilling that the Federation’s staff, cricket administrators and umpires in Nigeria is being empowered with. We have the International Cricket Council, Africa’s management team here for this event and they see how hands-on the Nigeria team is. This has good implication for the future of our cricket,” he says.