By Albert Akota
Nigeria must beat Ghana today to top the standings at the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 Sub-Regional Qualifier for Africa Zone `A’, team head coach Uthe Ogbimi says.
The Nigerian national cricket team has already secured victories against Gambia and Sierra Leone at the qualifiers to make it a complete dominance.
The event will see each of the participating four teams play each other twice for a total of six matches at the Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket Oval in Lagos.
Ogbimi told newsmen in Abuja on Monday that beating Gambia and Sierra Leone has kept the players in high spirits and ready for Ghana.
“The team so far has been wonderful. The players have been playing to instructions and a victory against Ghana will keep us as favourites to win the qualifiers.
“Ghana is a strong side but, thanks to the victories against our earlier opponents which have motivated the team more, we look forward to a win tomorrow,’’ he said.
The team is looking forward to earning one of the available two qualification slots.
It will earn them progress to the next round of the qualifiers ahead of ICC World T20 in Australia 2020.
The qualifiers began on Saturday, and will end this Saturday.
Ghana had earlier taken no pity for Nigeria when they took them at the ICC World Cricket League Africa Region Qualifiers in South Africa last year.
Ghana won the toss but decided to field. After the first innings, Nigeria garnered a paltry 51 runs all out in 28.3 over.
AJ Ayannaike was bowled out after making just 6 runs from 32 balls. Compatriot Olaleye was dismissed after making 3 runs from 25 balls while U. Frday was bowled out by Ghana’s Bakiweyem
Who took four wickets in the one-sided match. Nigeria’s wickets crumbled in quick succession as Salako, Onwuzulike, Adedeji and Olympio who made 17 runs, the highest by a Nigerian player, were either caught or bowled out.
In the second innings, Ghana overran the hapless Nigerian team, after achieving the 52-run target for 6 wickets in just 13.5 overs. Ghana won by 4 wickets.