KWEKWE — Nigeria national cricket team defeated a disappointing Rhinos Select 3-1 in a
T20 friendly series played at Kwekwe Sports Club last week.
The Naija Boys were preparing for Africa T20 Qualifiers to be played in Kigali, Rwanda in
Rhinos used their fringe players who play in the local domestic league. Rhinos select side
succumbed to Nigeria as their franchise team players are currently involved in the Logan
Cup, first class cricket.
Despite the loss, Rhinos Select head coach Dylan Ziyambi was happy with the performance
of the fringe players.
The team which we picked for this series comprises players who do not usually get game
time with the first team. Judging by their performance, it was actually better than we
expected. Imagine rookie boys, fringe players in the Rhinos squad playing against a national
team going for qualifiers, I am happy.
“Yes they did not execute some of the things we expected them to do. Results did not go our
way but performance wise, I think the guys that we have did well. The bowling department
was perfect but we were let down by our batting department," said Ziyambi.
His counterpart Kenyan Steve Tikolo, who was appointed head coach of Nigeria, in October
this year, said the tour of Kwekwe was a success.
Our tour of Kwekwe has been good to us, we were looking for practise matches before we
go to Kigali for the Africa T20 qualifiers. We played four games here and we won three and
lost one. I think we have given a good account of ourselves especially in bowling and
fielding. In batting, we did not meet our target but it is something we can work on going
“All the runs we scored, our bowlers were able to defend. There are positives in the games
that we played. We are looking forward to winning games in Kigali. Despite Rhinos missing
a number of their top players, playing in the Logan Cup, the team we played in this series was
a good and strong side as well. They gave us good competition. Very soon, Nigeria Cricket
team will be a force to reckon in cricket," said Tikolo who once played cricket for Masvingo
based franchise cricket side Southern Rocks and is a former Kenya cricket captain.
In the first game, Rhinos Select won by six wickets while a wounded Nigeria came back and
won the next three games.
In the second game, Nigeria scored 102 runs and Rhinos were bowled out for 56 runs. On
Saturday, the game was decided by DLS methods after rain stopped the match and Nigeria
won by five runs.
The two teams completed the T20 series on Sunday, with Nigeria batting first and scored 112
runs and Rhinos Select failed to chase the first innings – losing by one run after scoring 111
from 20 overs.
Outstanding players and staff from the series were honoured with awards, courtesy of
sponsors Safeguard Security and Itel.
Two Rookie players from both teams were honoured while Rhinos' Wallace Mubayiwa was
the series best player. Nigerian officials received accolades for their efforts.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe U19 women national cricket team is in the land of cricket – India for a
training stint. The ladies’ team is preparing for the U19 Cricket World Cup to be held in
South Africa, next year in January.
Rhinos twins Kelly Ndiraya and Kay Ndiraya both all-rounders are part of team in India. The
twin sisters completed their O' Level examinations in time to travel to India with the rest of