14-year-old Bakrania stuns Namibia at Africa Qualifier

The final ticket for the Under-19 Cricket World Cup is still up for grabs, with a number of surprises across the opening two days of the Africa Qualifier.

Laksh Bakrania Africa Qualifier Tanzania
Bakrania as a 14-year-old during U19 World Cup Qualification in 2021.

The race to claim the last Under-19 World Cup spot has been thrown wide open by an unlikely hero, with Tanzanian left-arm orthodox bowler Laksh Bakrania stunning Namibia on day two of the Africa Qualifier, held in Rwanda.

Bakrania, who turned 14 just three days ago, tied the tournament’s favourites in knots, claiming 5/28 from 9.3 overs, as Namibia lost 65/9 to be bundled out for 152, 48 runs short of Tanzania’s even 200.

Bakrania was hoisted into the air by a mob of teammates at the Gahanga Cricket Stadium for his bowling efforts, though it was perhaps his effort in the field that turned the match in Tanzania’s favour.

With a run out of Ryan Moffett to begin the collapse in the previous over, Tanzanian skipper Dhrumit Mehta threw the ball to Bakrania, who proceeded to claim the big wicket of Gerhard Janse van Rensburg for a duck in his first over.

Bakrania then claimed William Lottering, as well as Alexander Busing-Volschenk and Dylan Leicher, at one stage sitting with figures of 4/10 off 5.1 overs to his name.

Unable to find a partner, Namibia’s Jan Balt crossed fifty, only to fall to to Yalinde Nkanya on 53, and the favourites, for all the early dominance, were now outsiders of claiming victory.

Jan Potgieter’s 18 (11) was Bakrania’s fifth scalp, and Namibia crumbled to fall 48 runs short, with the innings curiously ending with skipper Jack Parker dismissed obstructing the field.

Emotional scenes as Tanzania steal victory (ICC)

In another tournament upset, Rwanda defeated defending champion Nigeria by four runs in a tense defence of 125.

Winning the toss and fielding, Nigeria looked on top after dismissing Rwanda for 125, even after contributions from Emile Rukiriza (23) and Eric Kubwimana (17).

Nigeria, in reply, were unable to form partnership to take the game away. Looking in control at 72-3, Huzeifa Abdulsalam (17) and Issac Onyemgba (22) fell in quick succession, and an upset looked on the cards.

Crawling 121/8, Destiny Chilemanya (15*) looked to be the hero for Nigeria in an unlikely come-from-behind victory, though with just five runs required, Rwanda held their nerve. Chilemanya watched on as Victor Ipoli (6) and Nzube Nwokike (0) fell in successive balls to Steven Ntwari, who finished with 3/27.

Rukiriza, who also picked up 3/20 along with his contribution with the bat, picked up Player of the Match honours.

Action at the Africa Qualifier continues tomorrow with Rwanda hosting Uganda, and Tanzania looking to continue their run against Nigeria. Namibia have the bye.

Feature image: ICC

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