Nigeria capped their perfect run at the maiden West Africa Trophy with a pulsating 18 runs win over a resilient Rwanda side in the final of the tournament at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos on Sunday, The PUNCH reports.
Steve Tikolo’s men produced a stunning comeback to see off the invited East Africans, who almost nicked what would have been their only win over Nigeria at the 10-day tournament.
Nigeria batted in the first innings, but the Yellow Greens didn’t look like the team who had beaten Rwanda three times during the tournament as they dropped three wickets in the powerplay.
But Man-of-The-Match, Isaac Danladi, and newly promoted Junior Yellow Greens captain, Ridwan Abdulkareem, eventually formed a strong partnership for Nigeria on the turf, as the Yellow Greens fought back and pushed themselves beyond the century mark.
Danladi had 44 runs before he was thrown out, while Abdulkareem recorded 39 runs and was bowled out with the last ball of the first innings.
Despite dropping two more wickets in the 20th over, the fans couldn’t be more proud of the Yellow Greens’ 103 runs for the loss of seven wickets.
Rwanda’s start to the second innings was as good as their first, averaging five runs per over with the first 30 balls, while they only dropped one wicket in the first 10 overs.
However, Nigeria’s bowling got better, restricting Lee Booth’s side to just 63 runs after 16 overs, while six more wickets fell, taking their 104 runs target beyond them.
Chimelie Udekewe thereafter finished off the game in style for Nigeria, taking the seventh wicket, as Nigeria ended the tournament unbeaten, winning all their 10 matches.
A crestfallen Rwanda coach, Booth, couldn’t but give credit to the impressive run of Nigeria at the tournament.
“We gave it another push to give Nigeria a run for their money but some fall of wickets and run overs changed the game.
“Nigeria are clearly the best side in this tournament, anything short of victory would have been harsh on them,”