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EDL KNOCKOUT CHALLENGE CUP IS NEXT

By NBF News
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EDL Knockout Challenge Cup is next
By Jide Alaka
March 19, 2010 02:57AM
Jide Bejide (green) is another international on the roster of Ibeju Lekki.

After last week's heroic display against the Ogun Rocks, Government College Ibadan Old Boys (GCIOB) Cricket Club will test their batting prowess against Ibeju Lekki Cricket Club 2 (ILCC 2) at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval on Saturday.

Experience versus youth
GCIOB will be looking towards Onwuzulike Osita, who scored 52 runs from 50 balls and Adegbola Kunle who put 43 runs on the board against Ogun Rocks. GCIOB beat the Rocks by 5 wickets. For Ibeju Lekki's second cricket team, they came second in the division 2; it is an ample chance to test their mettle against a senior team in a senior division.

Sean Phillips, who coaches both Ibeju Lekki 1 and 2 had interesting things to say concerning the matchup. “It will be a tough one for them. They are a very young team with an average age of about 18. But again, if they do everything right – bowl together as a team and field properly, they can cause an upset. When they play against ILCC 1, it is always about the little details that the seniors beat them. Though it will be interesting how they matchup against GCIOB.”

Tayo Atoloye of GCIOB though had a contrary opinion. “This is a mis-match, we will completely overwhelm them. We are not in their league as we have superior bowling and batting skills. Wale Adeoye and former national captain, Okon Ukpong will be bolstering our ranks. We also have about the fastest bowler in the country, Felix Iteogu. We are bringing all this to the pitch as it will act as a warm up for the two finals that are before us. It will be very interesting to see.”

On Sunday at the Tafawa Balewa (TBS) Cricket Oval Lagos Asians Cricket Club will confront Ibeju Lekki Cricket Club 1, while the Indo-Pakistani Cricket Club will engage Ogun Rocks at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) cricket pitch. The match at TBS will have the winners of Division 1 playing the winners of Division 2. Ricky Sharma, the captain of the Lagos Asians, says there is no need for his players to be psyched up as they are playing the best team in the land.

Battle for the top
“Since the draws were announced, I have personally been looking forward to the confrontation. Before their rise, we were the best team in the country but they have assumed that mantle now. We will want to show everyone that we can play with the best and stand our ground.

“This is sport and the best team on the day will most likely take it.”

Saheed Akolade was proposed by his coach, Sean Phillips, as one of the players of the concluded season. He will be facing the Asians at TBS. “This is a knockout tournament so we have to play our best game on Sunday. Why we have remained unbeaten this season is because we do not under-rate any side and we always give our best.”

In the other Sunday match, Ogun Rocks have to pick themselves up quickly to face the challenge of the Indo-Pakistani Cricket Club. They were beaten by GCIOB last weekend but this is a fresh 0bstacle.

A late partnership from James Chukwu (63 runs from 98 balls and 6 boundaries) and Olabiwoninu Kehinde (16 runs from 38 balls) had ensured that the Ogun Rock boys put up a respectable total of 166 runs. The team just has to increase their concentration and keep their perimeters tight against a very experienced but ageing Indo-Pakistani team.

All in all, it will be a weekend to savour for cricket fans in Lagos.