With 243 runs, 17 fours and 13 sixes, Nigeria’s captain, Chimezie Onwuzulike was adjudged the batsmen gong while his compatriot – Mohameed Taiwo was named the Bowler of the Tournament as Nigeria dominated the awards at the just concluded ICC World Twenty20 Africa Qualifier held at the Tafawa Balewa Square Cricket Oval in Lagos.
In a statement by the ICC Tournament Director, Kuben Pillay, the Player of the Tournament was handed to Ghana’s Simon Ateak, following his immense and decisive contributions that aided Ghana to win the tournament.
Ateak showed his experience and composure, chiselled out two half-centuries, including a calm 57 against Nigeria, to notch 143 runs in all. His strike rate of 102,06 may not have been the tournament highest, but Ateak’s value to his side was evidenced by the fact that all his runs came in winning causes.
To emerge as Bowler of the Tournament, Taiwo, whose 9 wickets cost him a combined 76 runs over the course of six matches. He got those wickets at an economy of 4.18, as well as a strike rate of a wicket every 12. 1 deliveries.
In the batting ranks, no one scored more runs than Nigerian skipper Chimezie Onwuzulike. He spread 234 runs across six innings, with a memorable best of 90 not out. To add more gloss to his impressive numbers, Onwuzulike also scored at a healthy strike rate of 132.20, and an average of 46.80. The top-order man also struck a tournament high of 17 fours and 13 sixes in his six visits to the crease.
On the field, there was an exhibition of fine groundwork and catching, but no one stood out more than Abubakarr Kamara of the Sierra Leone, who collected five catches in the outfield over six matches, to claim the Fielder of the Tournament gong.
Finally, there was also a special moment for one of the officials during the course of the tournament, as umpire Ravi Angara stood in his 100th AM International. In a peculiar twist of circumstance, Angara’s milestone match was reached alongside Andrew Louw Jr, having started his umpiring career by standing with Wynand Andrew Louw, Andrew’s father, in his first AM international.
Ghana and Nigeria will now move onto the next stage of qualification, as the seventh edition of the World T20 looms ever larger on the cricketing horizon.