Nigeria sneak in to the semis with a thrilling win over Botswana
The Nigeria team pose for a photograph. © Nigeria Cricket Federation
Small but significant contributions from the batters helped Nigeria overcome a wobble and beat Botswana in a thriller by three wickets with just one ball to spare and make it to the semi-final of the Kwibuka T20 tournament at the Gahanga International Stadium in Kigali on Thursday (June 10). They will face table toppers Namibia in the first semi on Friday (June 11).
Chasing 107 for a spot in the semis, Samantha Agazuma got Nigeria out of the blocks quickly along with Omonye Asika as the pair added to 39 runs without any loss in the power play. Agazuma started with a boundary through long-off in the second over adding two more boundaries to thirdman.
Post the power play, Nigeria struggled for a while and could score only 13 runs in the next four overs as they lost both Asika and Agazuma in the process. Amantle Mokgotlhe castled Asika for 12 and Botsogo Mpedi sent Agazuma back when she was given out caught behind for 23.
Botswana’s wayward bowling kept Nigeria in the game with the bowlers providing runs in extras even when the batters struggled. Salome Sunday walked in at the fall of Favour Eseigbe with the score reading 69 for three with Nigeria still needing 38 runs from 44 balls. Sunday started the innings with three boundaries from the first five deliveries she faced.
However, Jacqueline Kgang struck again to dismiss Sunday at the same score as the big-hitter departed for 12 off nine balls. With Nigeria needing 19 runs from last five overs, Kgang kept Botswana in the game as she sent another batter in Esther Sandy in the 17th over.
ALSO READ: Namibia stomp to the semi-final after yet another dominant outing
In the 18th over, Mokgotlhe continued her good day and trapped Blessing Etim in front of the wicket and Joy Efosa ran for a non-existent run to lose her wicket. It came down to run-a-ball in the final over, Shameelah Mosweu was entrusted to bowl the last over, she started with a dot ball before five runs came from the next three balls to level the scores. Agatha Obulor eventually took a single in the fifth ball to help Nigeria snuck home and the semis.
For Botswana, Kgang picked three wickets for 18 runs while Mokgotlhe finished with two wickets.
Put into bat, Botswana innings started promisingly with the openers Florence Samanyika and Laura Mophakedi adding 16 runs in the first three overs. However, once Efosa accounted for Samanyika in the fourth over, Botswana went through yet another collapse, as that have been the case for them through the competition. They lost Mophakedi to Etim in the next over for 12.
Botswana would have lost their third wicket soon when the umpire first judged Mosweu as LBW despite it looked like ball was pitching outside and then retracted his decision. To add insult to injury for Nigeria, Mosweu smashed Mary Desmond for two boundaries. But eventually Desmond had the last laugh when she finally trapped Mosweu in front in the same over to reduce Botswana to 30 for three.
It went from bad to worse for Botswana when Etim stuck again to remove Kgang for just two. At this stage, it looked like Botswana won’t be able to post a respectable total on the board with the score reading 34 for four.
However, Mokgotlhe and Mpedi added 47 runs for the fifth wicket to steady Botswana’s boat and take the score to 81 for four at the end of the 16th over. Once Mpedi was dismissed for 20, Mokgotlhe opened up hitting Efosa for a huge six and then followed it up with a four.
Despite a few run outs at the death, on the back of Mokogotlhe’s unbeaten knock of 36 from 28 took Botswana over the three-figure mark and took the score to 106 for eight at the end of their 20 overs.
For Nigeria, Desmond and Etim finished with impressive figures taking two wickets each.
Brief Scores: Botswana 106/8 in 20 overs (Amantle Mokgotlhe 36; Mary Desmond 2/13, Blessing Etim 2/18) lost to Nigeria 107/7 in 19.5 overs (Samantha Agazuma 23; Jacqueline Kgang 3/18, Amantle Mokgotlhe 2/19) by three wickets