A Team on the Rise
Nigeria followed their good form from the NCF Invitational at home earlier in the year and were for some observers a surprise packet. The photo above shows the team looking forwards and that is exactly what Nigeria are doing.
The team came into this tournament ranked 38th, the second lowest, and yet played well enough to win fifth place.
Nigeria easily accounted for the two overseas teams, Brazil and Germany, by 8 wickets and 5 wickets respectively, both teams 10 or more ranking spots higher placed. They also took care of Botswana, as expected, by a healthy margin on 7 wickets.
The challenge for this team now is to compete with the stronger teams such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. That should be on their radar, for this team is very much on an upwards trajectory.
- Brazil (Nigeria by 8 wickets)
- Germany (Nigeria by 5 wickets)
- Botswana (Nigeria by 7 wickets)
- Uganda (Uganda by 9 wickets)
- Kenya (Kenya by 42 runs)
- Tanzania (Tanzania by 7 wickets)
- Rwanda (Rwanda by 23 runs)
- Fifth place: Brazil (Nigeria by 30 runs)
The batting was a little disappointing but that was covered over by good bowling and fielding. Leading run scorer was young allrounder Salome Sunday with 139 at 23.17. She has a big future ahead of her and no surprise to see her at the top. What is surprising is that she had very little support from the key batters. If they can fix the batting then Nigeria will be well able to mix it with the big teams.
This is a key strength for Nigeria. Leading the way was the experienced Racheal Samson with 10 wickets. I don’t think she has ever bowled better than she did in Kigali. Joining her, fellow quick who played her debut in the first match – taking 4-9 against Brazil is a bright prospect for the future.
Leg-break bowler Favour Eseigbe was very consistent throughout, taking wickets in just about every game. Miracle Imimole only took one wicket but her economy was something captain Blessing Etim could rely on. The fact that the captain didn’t even bowl herself or Salome Sunday shows just how strong and varied this attack is.
A less fruitful tour for “Kid Dynamite”, Lillian Udeh, the fifteen year-old tearaway with just 4 wickets to her name. A learning experience is what this tournament was and she will be better for it.
New wicket keeper Sarah Etim had a good start to her career, while Salome Sunday took the most catches for the team. Hard to keep this player out of the action, indeed, she was equal fourth highest catcher of the tournament.