ZAMBIA yesterday defeated fellow title contenders Ghana by seven wickets in a thrilling match on the fourth day of the ongoing Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa World T20 Division Two tournament here.
Having accumulated eight points from four matches, Zambia has now taken an unassailable lead at the top of the tournament standings. With only one match to play today against Nigeria, they are likely to be crowned champions and be promoted to Division One.
Zambia put Ghana into bat after winning the toss on a bright sunny morning at the impressive Sahara Park Willowmoore main oval where several high profile international matches have been played.
Ghana got off to a solid start through openers Julius Mensah (19 runs) and James Vifah (18 runs), the scoreboard reading 40 for no wicket.
The introduction into the attack of the twin left arm spinners Mohammed Mitha and James Zimba paid off handsomely for Zambia.
Run scoring became difficult and wickets fell at regular intervals as the latter Ghanaian batsmen failed to make any impression and they could only muster 121 runs for the loss of eight wickets in their allotted 20 overs.
Bowling honours for Zambia were shared by skipper Sarfraz Patel (two for 12), Imran Patel (one for 20), Gladson Kandela (one for 22) and Mitha (one for 32).
A feature of the Ghanaian innings was the excellent fielding of the Zambian team in which three of the opposition batsmen were sent back to the pavilion, run out.
Despite the early loss of Alan Nsensha for five runs, a spectacular undefeated innings of 61 runs by young Himal Patel was enough to propel Zambia to an exciting seven wicket win.
The 22 year old Patel, Zambia’s leading run getter at the tournament slammed four boundaries and scored his runs off 62 deliveries. Opener Ashraf Lulat weighed in with 24 runs and Imran Patel was undefeated on 17 runs as zambia reached their target with one over to spare.
When Imran Patel scored the winning run off the last ball of the nineteenth over, the jubilant zambian bench rushed onto the field to congratulate their heroes.
Meanwhile, in the day’s other matches, Seychelles recorded a shock seven wicket win over Nigeria and Swaziland defeated Mozambique. Seychelles takes on Swaziland today while Ghana will be up against Mozambique.
Times of Zambia