Nigeria win easily
After two first round matches against Sierra Leone and Ghana where they lost wickets in pursuit of small totals, Nigeria had ironed out their problems for the knockout stage of the North-West Africa Championship, easily winning the semi-final and the final.
In their semi-final against Morocco, Nigeria bowled first and dismissed Morocco for just 113, M Soussi top-scoring with 46. Whilst in the first round Nigeria would have lost more than half of their wickets in pursuit of that total, there were no problems this time as they lost two wickets whilst reaching 114, J Gosalka top-scoring with 47.
The other semi-final saw hosts Gambia get a taste of their own medicine. After dishing out thrashings to their first round opponents, including a huge 389 run win over Mali, they were on the receiving end of a 186 run thrashing by Ghana. K Anafi top-scored with 63 in Ghana's innings of 280 and K Sumila took 4/34 as Gambia were bowled out for 94.
In the final, played on July 22nd Square in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, Ghana batted first and were bundled out for 97, J Ogunlola taking 3/23 for the Nigerians, who reached 101/4 to win the tournament, J Ghosalkar top-scoring with 32.
So Nigeria win the first of what is set to become a regular event. This will help ease their disappointment at their poor-showing in last years African Division Two tournament, during which they failed to win a game. Although Mali won't be happy with their two comprehensive defeats against Gambia and Morocco in the first round, this was their first international tournament and they will have learnt from their experience, as will all the teams, all of whom fielded a team that fully met ICC eligibility requirements.