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07.04.2008 Cricket

Cricket: Ghana Overcomes Gambia

The Ghana national cricket team combined psychological toughness and wits to defeat The Gambia by one wicket in day two of the ongoing North-West Africa Cricket tournament at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Cricket Oval in Lagos Nigeria.

By this victory Ghana has maintained dominance over their Gambian counterparts as they gave the latter a similar dose at their home in Banjul last year during the first edition of the tournament.

What impressed most about the Ghanaian lads was that within 24 hours they had overcome a painful defeat at the hands of Sierra Leone in their first match played last Friday at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Ghana scored 260 runs for nine wickets all out, leaving a lot of work for their Gambian opponents to do in the second innings.

In Ghana's innings opening, batsmen Francis Dake and James Vifah were surprisingly caught out and by the 20th over the team had lost almost four batsmen.

But Lawrence Ateak was to prove the hero for Ghana as he came on and batted his way up to the 46th over. Ateak also scored over 60 runs which was the highest on the day.
 
And after Mark Bawa, Simon Ateak, Julius Mensah and Rufus Ntiamoah were all caught out, Eric Apedo and Prajul Pilai, the only batsmen left, came on and partnered well until the 50th over.

The second innings, however, gave Ghana the chance to exhibit their bowling and fielding strength.
 
The Gambia lost batsman by batsman as Julius Mensah and Captain Peter Ananyah had each bowled three wickets by the 10th over.
 
The woes of the Gambians were further deepened after Eric Apedo and Prajul Pilai bowled two and one wicket respectively.

And Mark Bawa caught a Gambian batsman out to seal the doom for them in the 19th over. So in the long run, The Gambia only managed to score 59 runs all out.

For The Gambians this was a second straight defeat as they lost to Nigeria in the opening match. In a post-match interview, Coach Bhupinder Brar said his boys showed a lot of strength in fielding and bowling, and that was what won the day.

"In yesterday's match our batsmen failed to click and that is what cost us. So now that we have found our rhythm we will fight hard to overcome Nigeria in our next match," he said.

In the first game, Ghana only managed to score 147 runs all out in 30 overs after Sierra Leone had left a 195 run target for them.
 
 Impressive on the day however, was Matthew Bawa who defied a knee injury to bowl three wickets.
 
Bhupinder Brar and Lawrence Ateak also used their spin bowling to reduce the run rate of the Sierra Leoneans.

At the time of filing this report however, the matches between Ghana and Nigeria at TBS and The Gambia and Mali at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta were yet to be played.
 
Ghana is scheduled to play Mali either today or tomorrow.

Story by Nathaniel Attoh,

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