A stunning spell of bowling by 15-year old Nigerian Peter Aho was the highlight of the opening day of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, Africa Division Two Qualifier in Potchefstroom.
Aho delivered 16 balls, but snatched five wickets for just three runs, to rout Ghana out for 26, in pursuit of a massive 292-run target. Nigeria were bowled out for 291 by their neighbours Ghana, with skipper Mohamed Taiwo narrowly missing out on an opening day century. The captain was caught and bowled for 95 later in their innings, with the damage already done against their West African counterparts.
Abdulrahman Jimoh chipped in with 61, as the young Nigerians made an early impression. There were three wickets apiece for M Yaotse and R Baaleri, who was the man to deny Taiwo his ton. In response, Ghana were whittled out for just 26, as Aho ran amok to see his team canter to a 265-run victory.
Mozambique recorded the highest score of the day, amassing 306 on their way to beating Lesotho by 245 runs. Frederico Gomes and tailender Joao Huo made half-centuries, and there were plenty of contributions from the top-order as they posted the daunting target. Katleho Monki stood out for Lesotho, as he snared four for 62 in nine overs.
The chase was always going to be a tall order, and Lesotho only had one player reach double figures. Tsepiso Chaoana made 16, but it was extras that helped the score line, with 22 conceded. Lesotho were bowled out for just 61, as Mozambique prevailed with a convincing victory.
Rwanda also made a positive start to the competition, defeating Swaziland by 102 runs. Captain Didier Ndikubwimana held the key for his side, with 62 runs at the top of the order. 15-year old Parfait Mugisha also contributed with the bat, as he recorded 32 runs to help Rwanda finish on 229 all out, two balls short of their 50 overs.
In reply, the Swazis did put up some fight, reaching a total of 127. Mohamad Patel scored 33 in the lower order before the Southern African side were bowled out in the 34th over to see Rwanda cruise to an opening day victory.
In the tightest match of the day, Tanzania had to hold their nerve to eventually outlast Botswana by just 27 runs. In a lower scoring affair, the efforts of Salimini Saidi were key, as his five for 31 broke the back of the Botswana chase.
Tanzania had won the toss and elected to bat first, at the pristine Senwes Park ground. A stand of 53 for the first wicket suggested that they were in charge, but Boteng Maphosa rocked them with a fine spell of four for 24, in five overs.
Baraka Laiza’s 30 at the top of the order was the highest contribution with the bat, before a batting collapse meant they were bowled out for 161. Tanzania showed a bit more discipline with the ball, as they restricted their opponents to 134 all out – a priceless aspect in a tight game.
Skipper Phemelo Silas (30) and Zaidul Islam (25) tried valiantly to get Botswana over the line, but Saidi crucially had Silas caught behind, with the end in sight. Shepherd Mothusi gave the Botswana change-room some late hope with 15 off 18 balls, but the end came quickly after he fell.
In this todays’ fixtures, Ghana face Lesotho, Nigeria play Mozambique, Tanzania take on Sierra Leone and Botswana battle Rwanda.