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16.05.2007 Cricket

Cricket: Ghana Upbeat About Final Berth

The Ghana national cricket team's search for honours at the ongoing North-West Africa tournament reaches a crucial point this morning when they face hosts, The Gambia, in the first semi-final duel at the 22 July Square in Banjul.

Last Monday Ghana lost narrowly to Nigeria by only two wickets in their second Group B match played at the MRC Oval in Fajara, a suburb of Banjul. Ghana left a target of 102 runs for the Nigerians whose bowlers created a lot of trouble for the Ghanaian batsmen. The Nigerians managed to score 103 runs in 35 overs for 8 wickets.

Ghana will play this game relying on the fast and on-target bowling by Peter Ananya, Obed Harvey Agbomadzie and Stephen Bagabena who bowled four wickets against Nigeria.

This will be complemented by the efforts of the team's current top batsmen, Samson Awiah, Captain, Francis Kofi Bakiweyem, Obed Harvey Agbomadzie and Moses Kodam.

Inspite of the optimism and hunger for victory, however, Ghana must be cautious of Gambia's top batsmen, George Greywood, and Vice Captain, Zacheuss Akila. Greywood for instance, scored more than a century (100 runs) in each of Gambia's two matches.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic Gambia's Coach, James George, acknowleged the strength of Ghana's team which ha said had an incredible fighting spirit.

That nothwithstanding, Coach George says his boys were bubbling with a new lease of confidence and were ready to face Ghana. 

"My batsmen are very strong, and that will be my biggest asset as we face Ghana. Apart from Akila and Greywood, I have other options, so I am looking forward to a great game," Coach George told this paper during Ghana's training session at the 22 July Square yesterday.

His Ghanaian counterpart, Philip 'Ras Bingi' Taylor, remained upbeat about the team's chances of reaching the finals.

"We gave Nigeria a tough battle in our last game and had it not been for the fact that our fieldsmen dropped some catches we would have won. So basically we know where we came short, so we will rectify it and go for victory against Gambia," he said.

Ghana's Captain Francis Bakiweyem said the best way for him and his team mates to reciprocate the gesture of sponsors, courtesy the Chairman Mr P. Vanderpuye-Orgle was to win.

Nigeria will play Morocco at the MRC Oval simultaneously in the other semi-final clash.