Oladotun Olatungi scored his second century of the tournament to help Nigeria record a 171-run victory over hosts, Botswana, in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 7 in Gaborone on Tuesday.
After Botswana won the toss and elected to field for the third time in a row, Nigeria started its innings with a solid 51-run stand between Ricky Sharma (18) and Segun Olayinka (33).
Botswana took four quick wickets to put Nigeria on the ropes at 67 for four, but captain Adekunle Adegbola (43), Olatungi (125 not out) and Chimezie Onwuzulike (29) ensured that Nigeria reached a total of 287 for seven from its 50 overs.
Olatungi’s determined 125 came from only 95 balls, and included 12 fours and four sixes.
Botswana’s run chase was dealt an early blow when Sadd Mohyuddin was bowled by Saheed Akolade for six in the third over.
A 25-ball 32 from Faisal Rana Rasheed kept Botswana on track, but when Rasheed was dismissed, the middle order collapsed to leave the host reeling at 84 for seven.
Though Nabil Master (15) showed some final resistance to the grueling Nigeria bowling, Botswana was dismissed for 116 in the twenty-eighth over.
Joshua Ogunlola (5 for 28) and Chimezie Onwuzulike (4 for 37) were the key bowlers for Nigeria, but it was Olatungi who was adjudged man of the match for his undefeated knock, the second highest score of the tournament (behind the 127 Olatungi scored against Ghana on Sunday).
Nigeria captain Adekunle Adegbola was thrilled with the result: “It was a wonderful game from both sides but a sweet victory to the Nigerian team.”
Botswana captain Karabo Modise was pleased with his team’s performance, despite the result: “It was a brilliant game, with very exciting cricket between some quality teams.”
Also in Gaborone, Vanuatu recorded a six wicket victory over fellow Pacific nation Fiji to record its third successive win of the tournament and cement its position at the top of the table.
In a clash of the two undefeated teams of the tournament, Vanuatu’s bowling attack dismissed Fiji for 139 runs before Trevor Langa and Damian Smith combined to lead Vanuatu to victory in the twenty-second over.
After electing to bat, Fiji got off to a slow start, and when Sevunivola Baba was dismissed lbw by teenager Nalin Nipiko for three in the eighth over, Fiji had only made 22 runs.
Opener Joe Rika (26), Jikoi Kida (38) and Jone Seuvou (37 not out) provided measured resistance to the Vanuatu bowling attack, but excellent fielding saw two run outs and the regular loss of wickets, and Fiji was dismissed for 139 in 43.4 overs.
The Vanuatu bowlers shared the wickets, with Jelany Chilia, Andrew Mansale and Nipiko taking two wickets each. Chasing 140 runs for victory, openers Langa (64) and Smith (30) started the Vanuatu innings in earnest, putting together a 95-run partnership from only 68 balls.
Despite losing three wickets in quick succession, Vanuatu recovered to reach 142 for four in the twenty-second over to secure a convincing win over its regional neighbour.
Tukana Tavo was the principle wicket taker for Fiji, picking up the key wickets of Langa and captain Mansale.
Twenty-three year old Langa of Vanuatu was judged player of the match for his 51-ball 64, which included seven fours and one six.
Mansale was delighted with his team’s strong all-round performance, saying: “To play a pacific opponent was always going to make it tough. I am very happy the boys came out on top.”
Though disappointed with the loss, Fiji captain Joe Rika was already looking ahead to the last two matches of the tournament: “It was a nice game where Vanuatu came strong.
The score we put on the board wasn’t enough to defeat Vanuatu so far in the tournament. But we still have two more games to go. I hope my guys will do their best to lift up the trophy.”
In Lobatse, both Ghana and Germany were aiming for their first win of the tournament, and it was Ghana who walked away with victory after reaching its target of 186 to defeat the European side by four wickets.
Germany started well, with an opening partnership of 58 between Dilshan Rajudeen (28) and Andre Leslie (66).
Leslie lost six batting partners before being dismissed lbw by Isaac Aboagye in the forty-eighth over, and Germany made 185 for eight in its 50 overs.
Aboagye was the leading wicket taker for Ghana with three for 24, while Ateak took two for 26.
In reply, Ghana started cautiously and lost a wicket in the second over.
However, a 49-ball 52 from Obed Harvey anchored the Ghana innings.
Good running between the wickets as well as contributions from captain Peter Ananya (23) and Julius Mensah (33) saw Ghana reach 186 for six in the thirty-third over to record its first victory of the tournament.
For Germany, Asad Mohammad took three wickets for 48, while Bilal Jafar took two for 20.
Ghana’s Obed Harvey was adjudged man of the match for his knock of 52, which included three fours and the only six of the Ghana innings.
While pleased with the win, Ghana captain Ananya said his team had to improve for its final two matches of the tournament: “We played well, but we are not up to our standards.”
Germany captain Asif Khan remained upbeat despite the loss: “The match was conducted in a good atmosphere, and both teams played well.
We hope to do well in the remaining games.