Cricket: Salome-inspired Nigeria beat Rwanda, win T20i tourney

Nigeria’s senior women’s cricket team, the Female Yellow Greens, have been crowned champions of the 2023 Nigeria Cricket Federation Women’s T20i tournament after dethroning Rwanda with a nine-run win in Lagos on Sunday, The PUNCH reports.

The Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket Oval was in a tense mood as the top two sides in the five-team tournament went up against each other in a repeat of last year’s final.

Meeting the reigning champions for the second time in two days, Nigeria had the mission of avenging their loss in last year’s final and also avoid a repeat of their defeat on match-day five of this year’s edition.

Captain Blessing Etim won the toss for Nigeria and elected to bat first.

After a slow start in the power play, Salome Sunday and captain Etim saw off the first inning with some incredible batting, which saw Nigeria race to 99 runs for the loss of four wickets in 20 overs to the delight of the spectators.

The second inning meant Nigeria had to defend the total with a good fielding strategy.

Rwanda came on to bat with Gisele Ishimwe 31(48) and captain Diane Biemenyimana 15(19) contributing to the score of the side, as Nigeria’s Peity Lucky and Racheal Samson did the most damage to the East Africans, claiming three wickets each.

The defending champions had to manage 90 runs for the loss of nine wickets.

For her incredible batting, which saw Nigeria over the line in the first innings, Salome Sunday was awarded player of the match after scoring 47 runs.

Earlier, Seirra Leone defeated debutants Cameroon by nine wickets to finish third in the tournament.

Cameroon posted 84 runs all out in 17.2 overs, while the Ladies Patriots chased down the score with 85 runs for the loss of one wicket in 13.2 overs.

President, Nigeria Cricket Federation, Uyi Akpata, said the victory was a welcome development on the investments of the federation on cricket development.

“First of all, this win is not for the team; it is a win for all. The effort being put in by passionate cricketers to support the board, the dedication of the players, the encouragement from the Honorable minister, and most of all, the sponsors that are keying into our vision. This is a win for all,” Akpata said.

The Nigeria Cricket Federation Women’s T20i Invitational tournament is an annual event on the NCF calendar, and this year’s edition featured Ghana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and hosts Nigeria.

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