Mora completes a famous victory over Nigeria

The cricket team of the University of Moratuwa (Mora) and the Nigerian National cricket team encountered a one day cricket match, which took place at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium today.

The Nigerians gained the luck to win the toss. Their captain gave the chance to Mora to bat. The opening batsmen of Mora, N.L.W Wijewanthe and Nuwan Marasinghe (captain) came to the pitch to collect runs.

The Nigerian team consists of a pack of fast bowlers. Taking it as an advantage, the Nigerians kept putting pressure on the Mora batsmen from the beginning of the match. As the first wicket, Nuwan Marasinghe was sent to the dressing room by Nigerian bowler Olympio Sere.Except for Janindu Arukgoda (25 runs - highest) and W.S.U Perera (21 runs) none of the Mora batsmen reached more than 10 runs. Aaolade Saheed took four wickets within 9 overs and let Mora collect 19 runs. Mora settled the Nigerians’ target to 116, which included 37 extra runs.

It seemed that 116 runs in fifty overs was an easy target for a national team. The Nigerian opening pair, Endurance Ofem and Olayamka Segun entered to the pitch to achieve that easy target. But during the first ball of the second inning, Ofem was bowled by N.V Gunathilake. After a dot ball, consecutively the second and the third wickets were felt strongly as the scoreboard read null. Obviously, it was the turning point of the match. After 21 overs, the Nigerians’ scoreboard read 51 runs for 7 wickets. Thereafter, the Nigerians followed a defensive strategy of staying at the wicket and not going for boundaries. Somehow, the Nigerians could only stay in the ground for 36 overs with 68 runs in their hands. Oyede Leke (29 runs) and Adegbola Kungle (12 runs) were the only players who got two digit scores. N.V Gunathilake got five marvelous wickets, just letting them get 13 runs.

In the middle of the second inning, His Excellency Hon. Goodluck Jonathan, the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria arrived at the stadium. Obviously it was an encouragement for the Nigerian players.

After the friendly match, the winning captain, Nuwan Marasinghe shared a few ideas with MoraSpirit. He said “as a team, we know 116 is an easy target. But we didn’t lose the target of winning. We found that there were no spinners in the Nigerian team so our plan was to keep pressure on them with our spinners’ talent. So happy to say that our plan worked. But as captain, I have to say that the Nigerian bowlers were extremely good at fast bowling”.

MoraSpirit did not forget to share some ideas of the Nigerian team captain, Adegbla Kunle. He said “though we performed well in bowling, the batting perspective was not good. We lost three wickets at the very beginning. We are more familiar with fast bowlers than spinners. So our team mates could not defend themselves. And we gave 37 runs as extras. These were our drawbacks. And I must say the Moratuwa team consisted of wonderful players. We hope to play with them again. The friendly tournament series was a great experience to me and to our team. It was nice to play in a place where cricket is the most popular game around.”

We at MoraSpirit would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to the winners, while wishing the Nigerian team good luck in its future endavours.


By - Yasanka Jayawardane

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