A match no one actually expected the outcome, but with ‘anything can happen in Cricket’ it became possible as the national U-19 Team booked their ticket to the semifinals of the ongoing New Year Invitational T20 League
The week 19 group B decider, played at the Achimota Cricket Oval C, saw the U-19 score 77/10 after winning toss.
Their less than 20 runs per player in the first innings began with Lee Nyarko and Iris but both didn’t last 2 overs, as magical Pramod Kumar got his first 2 wickets, giving away 2 extras while the young lads stood at 3/2.
Captain, Paul Ayoleyine 11(15) continued with Elisha Frimpong 0(2) took over, but could not keep their wickets till end of the power play, due to the great bowling and fielding of Don Bruce. At 10 overs, the U-19 Team stood at 35/6 and were now careful in batting. They however got 55/8 while Pramod Kumar’s figures stood at 4-0-15-3.
At the end of the first innings, which had 11 extras, there were smiles on the faces of hard hitting and consistent Don Bruce. They were living to the expectations and were 32/1 in 4 overs after Alex Osei fell on the 1st over from Lee Nyarko’s delivery.
Things started turning around when Lee Nyarko dismissed Captain Sachin Pandey 4(12) on the 4.3 over, having spent 23 minutes in the crease.
Ashok Bhera 11(11) followed on the 5th over, a run out by Paul Ayoleyine and there came a brilliant Catch by Lee Nyarko, from Prince Addo’s delivery and Hari Prasad fell on the 6th over.
Just when Don Bruce were trying to wrap up the power play on a good note, another wicket fell on the 7th over; Daniel Anefie 3(6) and from Emmanuel Kemevor’s delivery and run out.
The lads became motivated and knew they could win this and pushed for the glory, wrapping it all up in the 12.3 overs and leaving Don Bruce at 61/10.
U-19 Team won by 16 Runs and Prince Addo won player of the match with 19(34) batting performance and 4.0-0-13-4 bowling figures.
The U-19 Team climbed 2nd with 10 points after 6 matches, while Don Bruce, who lost their first match to leaders CSK drop to 3rd with 8 points.
In Group A, Ras Bingi finished first from bottom after losing to Supreme Cricket Club in the afternoon encounter. Supreme however finished top of the group with 10 points, shifting Defenders XI to second with 9 points and BGC to 3rd with 9 points, while Karizma and MMG with 5 points each have the last bite of the group matches next week.
Supreme Cricket Club who needed the win at all cost to make it to the semifinal gave the first innings to Ras Bingi after winning toss. The Saltpond boys had a great determination to spoil the party for Supreme but they couldn’t hold on to the wonderful bowling of Supreme.
Supreme kept single digits for Ras Bingi, apart from Nurudeen Ibrahim 12(22) and Benjamin Amoah 12(13). Ras Bingi scored 90/8 and eventually had to defend that score in their bowling figures, with Aziz Sualley’s 4-1-6-4 figures an example.
It took Supreme 60 minutes out of the entire 2 hours 50 minutes of the game and with 5 batters to achieve the target of 91/3 in 10.1 overs.
James Kwaku Vifah 19(13) and Samson Awe Awiah 16(15) had hoped to achieve the target but both were caught by Rueben Charles Pobee Okine on the 2.5 over, from Prince Davies’ ball and by Kennedy Sam on the 6.1 over, from Majaah Mohammed’s ball.
Eyram Kekeli Afutu 20(18)* finished the game, having partnered Charles Des Border 9(13) and eventual player of the match Aziz Sualley, while Supreme won by 7 wickets.
With semifinalist known, as outcomes of the last group matches would not affect the current standings, qualified teams can’t wait for the last four matches.
However, the excitement continues next week, with the likes of CSK wanting to be consistent in glory, as they come against Punjab IMPC in group B, and the middle tie between Karizma and MMG.
By: Davis Nii Attuquaye Clottey