With ICC Africa's top four associates having had their 50 over tournament the other week, focus now shifts to the second tier as they battle it out for a place at the ICC Africa Division 1 Championship at the Division 2 tournament in Benoni, South Africa, this week. The tournament got underway today with wins for Nigeria, Zambia and Ghana.

Promoted side Swaziland were up against Nigeria in their first match. With Nigeria currently in Division Five of the World Cricket League - the only side in the tournament in the WCL - they were always the favourites to win, but the margin was a little closer than the Nigerians would have been comfortable with.

Batting first, Nigeria were bowled out for 120 by Swaziland. The bulk of their runs were scored by Kunle Adegbola, who scored 68 from 47 balls. Only two other batsmen were able to reach double figures. Shahzad Hassan was the pick of the bowlers with 3-24.

A 47 run partnership for the fourth wicket between Tarun Sandeep and Haris Rasheed took Swaziland to 81 with 5.2 overs to go, giving them a good platform to push on to victory. But they proceeded to lose four wickets for seven runs in 13 balls, putting them firmly on the back foot.

They did manage to avoid being bowled out, reaching 110-8 from their 20 overs to lose by 10 runs.

The game between the Seychelles and Ghana was similarly close, if a little higher scoring. Put into bat, Ghana were able to score 140-7 from their 20 overs. No one batsman was able to dominate, with Vincent Ateak's 26 not out the highest score. Tharmenthiran Shanmugam was the pick of the bowlers with 4-13.

The Seychelles reply started badly with opener Janaka Rathnayaka getting out for a duck in the second over. Hari Kamalan and Murray Peter Clarke were able to recover though, putting on 45 for the second wicket. Number four batsman Sandesh Ananda Kunder was their top scorer for the Seychelles with 36.

Godfred Bakiweyem took 3-22 as the Seychelles were restricted to 133-7 from their 20 overs, losing by just seven runs.

The other match of the day was anything but close as Zambia romped to victory over Mozambique. After winning the toss and putting Mozambique into bat, Zambia bowled them out for just 57, with only one batsman able to reach double figures. James Zimba was Zambia's top bowler, taking 3-11.

Zambia wasted little time in chasing down their meagre target, reaching it inside the powerplay overs, losing just one wicket in the process. Ashraf Lulat top scored for them with an unbeaten 28.

The dominant nature of Zambia's victory ensured that they top the table after the opening day on net run rate. They will play the Seychelles tomorrow. Other matches tomorrow will see Nigeria take on Mozambique, whilst Swaziland play Ghana.


Nigeria beat Swaziland by 10 runs
Willowmoore Park, Benoni, South Africa, 20 September
Nigeria 120 (18.3 overs, K Adegbola 68, S Hassan 3-24)
Swaziland 110-8 (20 overs)

Ghana beat Seychelles by 7 runs
Willowmoore Park, Benoni, South Africa, 20 September
Ghana 140-7 (20 overs, T Shanmugam 4-16)
Seychelles 133-7 (20 overs, S Ananda Kunder 36, G Bakiweyem 3-22)

Zambia beat Mozambique by 9 wickets
Willowmoore Park, Benoni, South Africa, 20 September
Mozambique 57 (18.1 overs, J Zimba 3-11)
Zambia 58-1 (5.5 overs)