Nigeria v Rwanda 2 Apr 2022

Series: Nigeria Invitational 2022
Venue: TBS Cricket Oval
Format: T20I
Toss: Nigeria
Result: Nigeria by 3 runs

It was only a matter of time before the two heavyweights of the tournament would fight it out, and oh, what a battle!

Stand-in captain for Nigeria, Omonye Asika, chose to bat first when she won the toss and may have had immediate regrets. The home team lost opener Kehinde Abdulquadri to a dreadful mix-up with Lucky Piety in the second over, runout for 2. This was followed by the skipper herself, bowled by Margueritte Vumiliya in the third, leaving the home team at 10/2.

Salome Sunday arrived at the crease and seemingly oblivious to the drama that had unfolded, immediately began to display her vast array of strokes, a shot for two from the first ball she faced, then a savage cut to the boundary.

The most elegant of her shots during her 58 ball innings however, was a glorious straight drive to the boundary. Her 63 was her second half century of the tournament and the highest score by a Nigerian batter. It also took her past 300 career runs, only the second Nigerian player to achieve that feat.

Nigeria finished with 117/6 from their 20 overs, not a great score, but it could have been far worse but for the innings of Sunday. The best of the Rwanda bowlers, Margueritte Vumiliya with 1-19.

The Rwanda chase began in the same calamitous way as the Nigerian innings and they too had their rescuer. Sarah Uwera was dismissed by Peculiar Agboya, on debut, in the second over. The captain, Marie Bimenyimana was then trapped in front by Lillian Udeh in the third over leaving Rwanda reeling at 6/2.

Just as Nigeria had their hero, so too Rwanda when Gisele Ishimwe came to the crease. She doesn’t muck around Gisele, and hit two mighty sixes on her way to the second half century of the match, finishing with 53. She had support along the way with Cathia Uwamahoro (17) and Antoinette Uwimbabazi (13*), but when she was runout with three balls of the innings remaining, it signaled the end.

Rwanda finished just 3 runs short in an exciting finish, handing victory and 2 points to Nigeria. Player of the Match was Nigeria’s Salome Sunday.

Nigeria 117/6 (Salome Sunday 63, Margueritte Vumiliya 1-19) 20 overs
Rwanda 114/6 (Gisele Ishimwe 52, Lillian Udeh 2-8) 20 overs

Player of the Match: Salome Sunday