Nigeria secured a dramatic, first ever spot in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in 2020, after they beat Sierra Leone by two wickets, on the final day of the Africa qualifying tournament in Namibia.
Set 139 to win, Nigeria endured a nervy chase, slipping to 87 for six at one point, before man of the match Peter Aho scored a priceless 21 not out to see them home. The entire squad rushed onto the field in jubilation, as they confirmed their seat at their first ever global tournament
Aho had also taken two wickets earlier, when Sierra Leone posted 138 all out at Affies Park in Windhoek. On the adjacent field, Namibia had posted a massive victory over Kenya, so Nigeria simply had to win
Sierra Leone provided them with plenty of challenges, as Haroun Kamara’s 58 from 60 balls propelled his side to a testing target. John Bangura chipped in with hearty 21, and as Sierra Leone refused to go quietly. Osman Sankoh’s late 24 also lifted the tempo, and the previously unheralded Abdulrahman Jimoh took two quick wickets for Nigeria the end, to stop the target getting any bigger.
In response, Nigeria endured a tumultuous time of it, not aided by a gathering storm. Isaac Danladi’s responsible 25 was crucial, while Miracle Ikaige also lent a hand with a vital 22. But the wickets kept on tumbling, and the pressure kept on mounting.
Aho’s nerveless intervention, mixed with occasional aggression, whittled down the target, and Nigeria were helped over the line by the cheering Ugandan squad. Namibia, on the other hand, were understandably cheering on Sierra Leone, having completed a 198-run drubbing of Kenya.
Skipper Divan la Cock was again in the runs, with 88 from 102 balls, and Jan-Izak de Villiers added a steady 55, as Namibia piled on the runs. Ramon Wilmot had set them on their way with a blitzkrieg 46 from just 31 balls, clubbing three sixes in the process.