Nigeria’s U-19 male cricket team, Junior Yellow-greens, are set to begin their chase for glory at the ongoing 2020 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in South Africa, as they take on Australia in Kimberley for their opening group B match, today.
Nigeria’s young lads who are making their debut at the global cricket showpiece are in Group B, tagged, ‘group of death’, comprising of three former champions in Australia, England and West Indies.
However, the young Yellow-greens, who surprised everyone, apart from themselves when they qualified for the championship early last year, will not be a pushover after a brilliant qualifying ride in Namibia.
Despite competing in a tournament that had three nations that have been to the World Cup before including the likes of Namibia, Kenya and Uganda, Nigeria rode their luck, winning all their games to pick up the single slot to the World Cup on offer at the African qualifier.
The junior yellow-greens are the only side to have gone through two qualifying tournaments to get here, having progressed through Africa Division two in August 2018, a tournament played on several of the same grounds being used for the World cup to get a shot in the main Qualifier in Windhoek in March, where they saw-off Kenya and Namibia in successive days.
Australia lost their first match in the ongoing tournament against West Indies by three wickets.
Nigeria will be banking on the services of Captain Sylvester Okpe and wicketkeeper, Sulaimon Runsewe who are the only ones that have experienced anything close to this level, having featured in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in October.
As one of two sides making their World cup debut this year, any opponent regarding Nigerians as mysterious unknown could well be in for a stark wake-up call.
Meanwhile, it was a big day over the weekend as the next generation of global cricket stars strut their stuff on the world stage, as a total of four matches were played between eight teams in South Africa.
Japan, who were playing for the first time in the tournament must be disappointed as their first game against New Zealand was abandoned due to rain. Therefore, both teams had to share a point.
UAE started the proceedings by defeating Canada in their first encounter. Aryan Lakra-led team restricted Canada at 231-8 in 50 overs. In reply, UAE chased down the target in 38.4 overs. Number three batsman, Figy John smashed the maiden century (102) of the competition.
In the other match, West Indies’ young boys crushed the Australian team by three wickets. After winning the toss, the Caribbeans asked the Aussies to bat first. The Mackenzie Harvey-led side crumbled against the Windies bowlers and got all out for just 179.
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