The ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers Africa Sub-Regional B had no surprise as the two favourites Tanzania and Nigeria went through to the Africa finals barely breaking a sweat.
The two favorites couldn’t even be separated in their encounter as the rain stopped what was building up to be the game of the qualifiers, Tanzania had skittled out Nigeria for 101 but the pace of Nigeria had already claimed three scalps for just 15 runs.
Tanzania were very batting heavy as a side, with their top always coming up with some big hits, and in contrasting style, Nigeria were very bowling heavy with some exciting pace bowlers such as Peter Aho, Prosper Useni, Isaac Okpe, and Mohammad Taiwo. That bowling lineup could send down shivers of any batting line up and indeed they always ensured Nigeria was chasing down low totals.
Tanzania now coached by former Kenyan Captain Jimmy Kamande was playing against the rain, so without taking chances they always fielded first, this tactic however put them behind Nigeria in terms of net run rate up to the final day of the tournament.
However on the final day they were able to turn it around with a comprehensive 185 runs win over a helpless Cameroon. They posted 218 runs in their 20 overs and managed to clean up Cameroon for 38. While Nigeria took their time to defeat Ghana in the West African derby and that hurt their NRR with Tanzania taking home the winner’s trophy. The left-arm spin of Yalinde Maurice from Tanzania picked up the best bowler of the tournament award.
The midfield battle is probably what lit up the group with Mozambique showing tremendous growth in their game to finish third. The purely native side failed to match up to the top two but beat everyone else who came their way. Their opening batting partners Francisco Couana and 19-year-old Jose Bulele were their go-to players throughout with the youngster taking home the player of the series award.
Ghana was underwhelming for an experienced side, their key players played with injuries a sign that they were not the fittest of sides. While their batting was largely uninspiring the bowling was completely blunt losing to teams such as Sierra Leone and Mozambique. They finished a distant fifth in the tournament. Obed Harvey their captain scored the only century of the tournament against Eswatini and Samson Awiah took home the award for the best batsman.
Sierra Leone had to deal with two big games first up but a nervy one wicket win against Cameroon put them on the correct path and they finished strong with wins against Ghana and Eswatini. However, they still have a lot of work to do on their skills as a group. Eswatini suffered injuries throughout the tournament and by the end, they had just about a fit XI to take the field. Adil Butt was a breath of fresh air for them with both bat and ball.
Gambia was playing in its first T20I tournament and they are certainly a mile away from the others, they might have won against Cameroon but they have a lot of work still to do. Cameroon finished at the bottom of the logo but they have grown in leaps and bounds since the last qualifiers. They can only get better as a side.
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