Victoria Hamunyela too good for Nigeria as Namibia start Kwibuka T20 with a win

Victoria Hamunyela getting her player of the match award. © Rwanda Cricket Association

Namibia shone on their Kwibuka T20 Tournament debut, beating Nigeria by eight-wickets thanks to a four-wicket haul by off spinner Victoria Hamunyela at the Gahanga International Cricket Stadium in Kigali on Sunday (June 6).

Resuming international cricket after a 638-day hiatus, Nigeria won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Kehinde Abdulquadri and Abigail Igbobie started cautiously learning from the first clash of the day between host Rwanda and Botswana. Their partnership of 11 was mostly due to freebies given by Namibian bowlers early on. It didn’t last long and a miscommunication led to the first wicket in the fifth over, as Abdulquadri was run-out for a duck.

One of the most experienced campaigners for Namibia, Sylvia Shihepo, struck twice in her second over to reduce Nigeria for three for 17 immediately after the power play. Blessing Etim and Salome Sunday tried to revive the dipping batting inning but Hamunyela was having none of it. In her player of the match performance, she took four wickets in her four overs for just eight runs – her best performance in T20Is.

For Nigeria, captain Samantha Agazuma and Joy Efosa were the high-scorers with seven each. The only double figures during the inning were 19 extras given by Namibian bowlers. Nigeria struggled throughout their batting inning but managed to play all 20 overs and scored eight for 52 at the end of it.

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The 23rd ranked side in ICC T20 rankings, Namibia started their chase with positive intent. Openers Adri van der Merwe (13) took charge and hit two fours before falling to Efosa in the fourth over. Wicket-keeper Yasmeen Khan, batting at three, couldn’t impress and fell after scoring a run. Efosa, bowling for the first time in her international career took two wickets in her three overs.

Diergaardt, identified as one of the key players by Namibian captain Irene van Zyl, showcased her talent with a bat. She scored unbeaten 26 off 27 balls to ensure there are no hiccups in the chase. While Nigeria could only score one boundary during their inning, Diergaardt scored four of them. She was ably supported by Kayleen Green, who scored 12 off just nine balls, and Namibia chased down the modest target in the 10th over.

Brief Scores: Nigeria 52/8 in 20 overs (Samantha Agazuma 7, Joy Efosa 7*; Victoria Hamunyela 4/8) lost to Namibia 56/2 in 9.2 overs (Arrasta Diergaardt 26*, Adri van der Merwe 13; Joy Efosa 2/17) by eight wickets. PoTM: Victoria Hamunyela