A 150-run fifth wicket partnership between captain Adekunle Adegbola and Oladotun Olatunji set up a comfortable six-wicket victory for Nigeria over Vanuatu in the rain-affected final of Pepsi ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 7 in Botswana on Saturday
Adegbola and Olatunji finished unbeaten on 51 and 67, respectively, as Nigeria achieved its 134-run target for the loss of four wickets against the team that had not lost a match all tournament.
Nigeria's target was adjusted to 134 according to the Duckworth-Lewis method (D/L method) after an early rain interruption, and Adegbola and Olatunji, who later picked up his third man-of-the-match award of the tournament, came together with Nigeria struggling at 19 for four, having lost both openers in the second over. The two batsmen player cleverly, with the skipper batting patiently and Olatunji scoring quick runs, including nine boundaries, on the way to his 64-ball 67.
The two were still at the crease when Nigeria reached its revised target of 134 in 32.1 overs to record its first victory over Vanuatu in the tournament.
Olatunji's superlative innings caps off a great tournament for the youngster, having already achieved the two highest scores of the tournament, 127 against Ghana in the team's second round clash, and 125 not out against Botswana to help his team to a 171 run victory against the host.
Earlier, Vanuatu's strong-performing batting lineup failed to fire, with danger men Trevor Langa (10) and Damian Smith (3) falling to Joshua Ogunlola within five overs of each other. Captain Andrew Mansale got the Vanuatu innings back on track with a well-struck 25, but wickets fell regularly as the Nigeria bowlers restricted the run rate and good fielding resulted in two run outs. Vanuatu was all out for 133 in the 39th over of its allotted 45 overs.
While Vanuatu bowlers Niko Unavalu captured all four Nigeria wickets for 27 runs, the day belonged to Olatunji, whose performances with the bat have led to him being the highest run getter of the tournament, with a strike rate of over 120.
Nigeria captain Adekunle Adegbola was delighted with his side's performance against the previously undefeated Vanuatu. Adegbola said: "It was an excellent performance from the Nigerian side today. Awesome bowling, and impressive batting too. Well done guys."
Vanuatu captain Andrew Mansale was gracious in defeat, saying: "Well done Nigeria. I am proud we worked hard enough to get promoted to Division 6, and I am confident we will improve."
Also in Gaborone, the third-fourth play-off game saw the host defeat Fiji by three wickets. After play was interrupted in the third over, the teams were given a revised innings of 46 overs. Botswana surpassed its target of 143 in the 30th over, reaching 146 for seven with 99 balls to spare. Saad Mohyuddin (35) and Waseem Tajbhay (39 not out) were the main contributors with the bat, while Fiji's Kitione Tavo took 3-49.
Earlier, Fiji got off to a slow start, and when captain Joe Rika was dismissed for 8, his side was reeling at 6-48 on the 19th over. Sekove Ravoka came to his side's rescue with an unbeaten 40, but it was not enough to save Fiji from being all out for 141 in the 36th over.
Player of the match Hasantha Mudiyanselage and Russel Withey were the key bowlers for Botswana, taking three apiece.
Delighted Botswana captain Karabo Modise said: "It was a low-scoring game but it was played with a lot of intensity and energy. Botswana played well and deserved the win."
Fiji captain Joe Rika remained positive despite the loss, saying: "We played great cricket today, it was a 3rd and 4th place encounter that didn't feel like a dead rubber."
In the fifth-sixth position play-off in Lobatse, Ghana recorded back-to-back victories over Germany to leave the European side winless at the tournament. After a night of rain, the match was reduced to 25 overs per side, and Ghana overcame a rocky start to post a total of 141 for nine from its 25 overs. Quick runs from the middle order, in the form of Samson Awiah (32), Isaac Aboagye (20) and Julius Mensah (29) put the innings back on track.
In reply, Germany started well, scoring at a healthy pace until André Lesley retired. While the run rate kept ticking, Germany lost wickets regularly, and the side lost its last three wickets for only 11 runs. Germany fell eight runs short of victory, having reached 133 from its 25 overs.
Ghana's Samson Awiah was adjudged player of the match.
Ghana captain Peter Ananya was pleased with his team's performance, despite missing out on promotion to Division 6: "It was a good game today. It's sad that we are knocked out, but it was a good game after all."
Germany's Asif Khan was pleased with his team's progress during the tournament, despite finishing sixth: "It's sad that we did not manage to win a game this year, but overall our team performance was better."
Nigeria and Vanuatu now join Argentina, Bahrain Jersey and Kuwait for Division 6, which will be staged in Jersey from 21 to 28 July 2013.
At the conclusion of the last match, Oladotun Olatunji of Nigeria was announced as player of the tournament. Olatunji finished the tournament with 355 runs, including the only two centuries of the tournament.
The final rankings of the Pepsi ICC WCL Division 7 are as follows:
1st - Nigeria
3rd - Botswana
4th - Fiji
5th - Ghana
6th - Germany
Player of the tournament - Oladotun Olatunji (Nigeria)
Scores in brief:
At BCA No. 1 - Final
Vanuatu 133 from 38.4/45 overs (Mansale 25; Onwuzulike 3-38)
Nigeria 134 for 4, 32.1/45 overs (Olatunji 67 not out, Adegbola 51 not out; Unavalu 4-27)
Nigeria won by 6 wickets (77 balls remaining) (D/L method)
Player of the Match: Oladotun Olatunji (Nigeria)
At BCA No. 2 - 3rd v 4th play-off
Fiji 141 from 35.4/46 overs (Ravoka 40 not out, Acawei 33; Mudiyanselage 3-26, Withey 3-31))
Botswana 146 for 7, 29.3/46 overs (target 143)(Tajbhay 39 not out, Mohyuddin 35; K Tavo 3-49)
Botswana won by 3 wickets (99 balls remaining)(D/L method)
Player of the Match: Hasantha Mudiyanselage (Botswana)
At Lobatse- 5th v 6th play-off
Ghana 141 for 9, 25/25 overs (Awiah 32, Mensah 29; Mia 3-35)
Germany (Fernando 38; Awiah 2-26, Aboagye 2-27)
Ghana won by 8 runs
Player of the Match: Samson Awiah (Ghana)