Irfan Karim led yet another batting masterpiece to help Kenya defeat Nigeria by 59 runs at Entebbe Oval, Uganda, in the ongoing Pearl of Africa T20 Series.
At a time when Kenya were restricted to almost a run-a-ball, Karim squeezed out five boundaries and put away one maximum over fine leg to account for 58 runs from 46 balls out of the 162 – run total. He added 74 runs to the third wicket with Rushabhvardan Patel who played his supportive role, albeit living on the edge in his 20 – ball 26.
The lanky wicket keeper batsman occupied the crease until he was dismissed inside the 17th over, snicking a Peter Aho delivery back to his skipper.
Earlier, Alex Obanda was his usual explosive self but Nigeria were mean, conceding only 42 runs in the power play. Gurdeep Bhagat (13) was deceived by a slower delivery that knocked back his stumps at the beginning of the fourth over while Alex Obanda, dried of runs, attempted a whooping shot over long on which Olaleye Olayinka held on to on the ropes to send him back with 33 from 24 balls.
Nelson Odhiambo wasted no time in putting up 19 runs from just 13 deliveries courtesy of three boundaries as Kenya set Nigeria 163 runs to win for the loss of five wickets.
Prosper Useni was the pick of the bowlers for Nigeria with 2/17 from 3 overs
In reply, Nigeria only managed 7/103 as newbies Peter Langat and Vraj Patel combined for two wickets–a-piece to tame the West Africans’ line up.
Nehemiah Ngoche picket out Chimezie Onwuzulike (7), his slow ball exploits finally paying off when he deceived him to sweep one to Dominic Wesonga at short fine leg at the close of the third over. Four balls later, his younger brother had Oluwasesan Adedeji stumped on nought.
Patel accounted for Daniel Ajekun (22), bowled and later had skipper Joshua Ayannaike caught in the next over for just 12 runs from 18 balls courtesy of Emmanuel Ringera. Olaleye was his and the team’s final victim of the day, falling for 16 runs from 14 deliveries in the 16th over with only 65 runs on the board.
Tomorrow is a rest day for all the teams with Nigeria playing a double header on Wednesday, starting with Kenya.