Kenya make it two in two in Kwibuka T20 with a clinical chase against Nigeria
Despite Nigeria punching above their weight to score their fourth-ever 100+ score in the T20Is, Kenya’s openers made sure there were no early hiccups in the chase and registered their second win in the Kwibuka T20 tournament from as many matches at the Gahanga International Cricket Stadium in Kigali on Tuesday (June 8).
On a sunny day in Kigali after Nigeria won the toss and elected to bat first, they lost three wickets with just nine runs on the board in the first four overs. Just as it looked like they were up against it, allrounders Blessing Etim and Salome Sunday revived Nigeria with first fifty plus partnership in this edition of the competition. Learning from their mistake in the first match, the batters ran hard between the wickets even when boundaries were hard to come by.
From nine for three, Etim and Sunday added 61 runs for the fourth wicket before Etim was eventually dismissed by Queentor Abel off her own bowling in the 14th over for a well-made 34 off 33 balls. Despite the loss of her partner, Sunday stayed patient and batted through the innings to finish on 33 off 45 balls to help Nigeria go over the three-figure mark. Omonye Asika’s came of 11 runs from nine balls also helped them to their third-highest score in the T20Is as Nigeria finished on 108 for five from their 20 overs.
For Kenya, skipper Margaret Ngoche took two wickets despite going for 27 runs from her four overs.
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In reply, after surviving a few close calls of caught behind and LBW, openers Queentor Abel and Veronica Abuga took charge of the chase. The duo took ones and twos early on and went at more than run-a-ball from the start before Abuga brought up first boundary of the innings in the fourth over when she smashed Efosa Joy for a four.
In the fifth over, Abuga took on Etim to launch the bowl straight down the ground for the first six of the tournament as she continued her aggression from the opening match. Abel was sedate at the other end and looked like struggling with an injury. They brought up Kenya’s first ever fifty plus opening partnership in T20Is in the ninth over as they blended aggression with caution.
Even though Eseigbe Favour struck to removed Abuga to end the 71-run stand Abel and Ngoche took Kenya score above 90. Abel hit occasional boundaries and despite her struggles running between the wicket managed to score career-best score of 40 before she was dismissed in the 16th over.
With Kenya needing only 17 runs off 23 balls, Sharon Juma joined Ngoche in the middle and they ran fast between the wickets taking their side past 100. Juma managed to add a boundary through mid-wicket before a single off Efosa Joy in the 19th over took Kenya home to their second win from as many matches leaving Nigeria win-less so far in the tournament.
Brief Score: Nigeria 108/5 in 20 overs (Blessing Etim 34, Salome Sunday 33; Margaret Ngoche 2/27) lost to Kenya: 109/2 in 18.1 overs (Queentor Abel 40, Veronica Abuga 33; Favour Eseigbe 1/19) by eight wickets