The junior yellow greens were on Saturday morning defeated by the Kenya under 19 Cricket team by 6 wickets in game 4 for Nigeria.
The last time these 2 teams met in Abuja during the division 2 qualifiers, it was considered by many as the spectacle of the tournament with rains threatening and Nigeria racing against time to win the match, eventually Kenya just did enough to come out on top.
Kenya won the toss and elected to field first, sending Nigeria into Bat. Nigeria started brightly in the opening stages of the match with Prosper Useni promoted to the top order and scoring some boundaries but yet again, it was short-lived as Nigeria lost 2 wickets in 8 overs having 31 runs on the board.
The game got a little bit better with time for Nigeria, but then, back to the same story, just when the going gets well, the batters give away their wickets and create unnecessary and avoidable problems.
Less than 100 runs might seem small as a total in 50 overs format, but we have seen teams defend less than that and if anyone can do it, Nigeria surely could produce a masterclass in the 2nd innings. Nigeria finished all out with 84 runs in 26.1 overs.
The second innings resumed with Prosper Useni and Chiemelie Udekwe in a left and right-arm bowling attack of pace. The first 2 overs for Nigeria were costly but it was just a matter of time before the bowlers got into their elements. A change in tactics brought in Damian Okeke and Victor Samuel with spin to try the variations, but Kenya was looking comfortable having hit 3 boundaries and sitting comfortably on 17 runs after 4 overs.
Nigeria needed just 1 wicket to get going
Victor Samuel got the breakthrough in the 12th over but Kenya remained resilient and continued pushing around the wicket in a very well-controlled innings. At the end of the 18th over, Kenya were 49 runs for the loss of 1 wicket.
Nigeria continued to push but with every run conceded, it made it more difficult to get back into the game. It’s hard to defend a low total with 7 dropped wickets in a match and that was the summary of the Nigeria bowling efforts as at 25th over with Kenya on 58 runs for the loss of 2 wickets.
Late efforts from Nigeria saw Kenya score 10 runs in 5 overs and with no pressure, it had no damage to the team. Nigeria left it too little too late even with back-to-back wickets in the 35 over. Kenya was home and dry needing just 5 runs to win. Kenya held on to score the required total of 87 runs for the loss of 4 wickets in 36. overs.
Hitendra Sanghani had 4 wickets in 10 overs, conceding 36 runs to be named player of the match.
Nigeria’s next opponent is Namibia who looks clear to picking the single ticket to the world cup.