Kenya made it two out of two in the Pearl of Africa T20I series when they beat Nigeria by 8 wickets to bowl off the second day of the competition at Entebbe Oval, spurred on by Gurdeep Bhagat’s all round bat and ball performance.
Cricket Kenya’s Coach David Obuya says that Nigeria didn’t make things easy for them but he is happy with his in form players. “We went out there with a plan and stuck to it. We saw in the early overs that they were good players of pace so we had to change tact and bring spinners who did it for us. My plea is to Alex Obanda, Gurdeep (Bhagat) and (Irfan) Karim for their form to continue. We know that Alex Obanda is one to take the game away from the opponent within a shorter time and I’m glad that he has been on form since we arrived in Kampala.”
Nigeria put on 107 runs after electing to bat, Aho Peter top scoring with 26 runs in in an all –round bowling and fielding display by their opponents.
They were off the bat in the power play before Vraj Patel knocked back Chimezie Onwuzulike for 17 in the fifth over to bag his maiden T20I wicket with the senior men’s side and break the 32 – run opening stand.
The West Africans teetered losing 4 – 5: Skipper Shem Ngoche picked two in four balls – Runeswe Iyiola was stumped off skipper Shem Ngoche after stepping out for the third delivery for a duck, skipper Joshua Ayannaike following him back to the dugout slapping one to elder brother Nehemiah Ngoche at deep cover. Daniel Ajekun who looked set at the top was caught short of his mark trying to outrun Nehemiah Ngoche at point, Irfan Karim breaking his stumps to see him off for 17, Nigeria effectively 4/37.
Vincent Adewoye and Oluwasesan Adedeji could only add 19 runs to the fifth wicket before falling in a pack, Gurdeep Bhagat having Adedeji bowled for 9 in the 12th over and Adewoye (12) fledging a Peter Langat delivery to Karim the next over.
Peter and Mustapha Yussuf (16) added 30 runs to the eighth wicket, to take the score to 107 runs before Mustapha was dismissed in the penultimate ball of the innings by Nelson Odhiambo.
Kenya’s skipper picked a measly 2/9 from 4 overs while Bhagat finished on 2/16 after having Mohammed Taiwo bowled for 6.
Having been set 108 to win, the East Africans, chasing down the target inside 12 overs. Bhagat was clinical in return, smashing five boundaries and one maximum in his 35 – ball 44, falling just four balls before the end of the innings. He put up an opening stand of 64 runs with Alex Obanda (37) who went smashing four boundaries and three sixes before being trapped on the long on boundary by Oluwasesan in the sixth over.
Bhagat took the lions’ share of his 30 – run second stand with Irfan Karim (9) before being bowled by Useni just 14 runs short of victory with Rushabhvardan Patel putting on 12 of them.