A Nigerian cricketer © AFP (file photo)
A Nigerian cricketer © AFP (file photo)

The Junior Yellow Greens became the first Nigerian side to qualify for any cricket World Cup. They made it by virtue of a 35-run win in the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Africa Division Two against Tanzania, at Senwes Park, Potchefstroom, South Africa. They will now play the 2020 Under-19 World Cup, in South Africa. Nigeria Under-19s also got promoted to World Division 1.

Batting first, Nigeria kept losing wickets, and were reduced to 109 for 9. Then Segun Ogundipe, known more for his left-arm spin, counterattacked with a 68-ball 62, while No. 11 Ifeanyichukwu Uboh held the fort at the other end with 23 not out. The pair added a game-changing 60.

The Tanzanians quickly became 36 for 4. Gokul Das fought hard for his 61, but only three others reached double figures, and none of them made past 17. Peter Aho took 4 for 37 while Isaac Danladi got 3 for 8.

The Guardian (Nigeria) quoted Uyi Akpata, Vice-President of Nigeria Cricket Federation, on the momentous occasion: “Everybody associated with Cricket in Nigeria is very proud of the achievement of the boys … It was a tortuous journey but they have been very dedicated and disciplined and we look forward to them being the crux of the senior national team in the nearest future.”

Brief scores:

Nigeria 169 in 46.2 overs (Segun Ogundipe 69; Salimini Saidi 3 for 27, Dhrumit Mehta 3 for 29, Mohamed Issa 3 for 15) beat Tanzania 134 in 43.2 overs (Gokul Das 61; Peter Aho 4 for 37, Isaac Danladi 3 for 8) by 35 runs.

Player of the Match: Segun Ogundipe.

Nigeria will meet Sierra Leone, who crushed Mozambique at North-West University No. 1 Ground, Potchefstroom. Osman Sankoh (51) and Aruna Kainessie (40) helped Sierra Leone recover from 31 for 5 (they were 9 for 4 at one stage; Nos. 2 to 5 all scored ducks). All five wickets had fallen to Frederico Carava, who finished with 7 for 33.

Sankoh and Kainessie added 91, and after a mini-collapse, they recovered from 122 for 8 to 167 before Carava returned to finish things off.

Five Mozambique batsmen then reached double-figures; at one point they were 57 for 3; but off-spinner Haroun Kamara and leg-spinner James Tommy shared six wickets, and Mozambique folded for 96.

Sierra Leone 167 in 33.5 overs (Osman Sankoh 51, Aruna Kainessie 40; Frederico Carava 7 for 33) beat Mozambique 96 in 44.5 overs (Joseph Bulele 18; Haroun Kamara 3 for 32, James Tommy 3 for 15) by 71 runs.

Player of the Match: Frederico Carava.