THERE were some huge upsets on the opening day of the ICC u19 World Cup qualifier Africa Division One tournament in Windhoek on Sunday as two of the favourites, Namibia and Kenya, suffered shock defeats to Nigeria and Uganda, respectively.
Namibia and Kenya both represented Africa at the u19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand last year, but on Sunday they were unceremoniously booted out, losing by 52 runs and 70 runs, respectively.
In a third match on Sunday, Sierra Leone got off to a winning start, beating Tanzania by 27 runs at the Trustco United ground.
At the Wanderers field, Namibia got off to a good start, restricting Nigeria to 129 for eight wickets off their 50 overs, but then suffered a major batting collapse as they were all out for a paltry 77 runs.
In Nigeria's innings, Namibian pace bowler Jan Izak de Villiers struck early, dismissing Sulaimon Runsewe for three runs, and from then on, the bowlers were always in command.
Isaac Danladi and Samuel Mba revived the innings with a 28-run partnership, before Ettiene Beukes dismissed the former for 15 runs.
Off spinner Mauritius Ngupita broke through the middle order, claiming three wickets, including that of Mba for 25, as Nigeria slumped to 83 for seven wickets.
The aptly-named Miracle Ikaige and Emmanuel Boniface, however, came to Nigeria's rescue with a 35-run partnership for the eighth wicket, before Altus Opperman dismissed the latter for 19, while Ikaige remained unbeaten on 22 as Nigeria recovered to post 129 runs off their 50 overs.
Ngupita was Namibia's best bowler, with excellent figures of three wickets for 16 runs off 10 overs, while De Villiers took 2/18 off 10 overs.
It didn't seem like much of a total, but Namibia were soon in trouble when Rasheed Abolarin clean bowled Jan Balt for a duck.
Ramon Wilmot steadied the ship with a patient innings, but Henry Brink also went cheaply for four, before disaster struck as they lost three wickets in quick succession.
Captain Divan la Cock was bowled for four, Wilmot was dismissed for a top score of 19, and Beukes was run out for a duck as Namibia slumped from 38 for two wickets to 38 for five wickets.
Matthew de Gouveia gave Namibia hope with a defiant 17, but he received little support as the whole team slumped to 77 all out.
Nigerian captain Sylvester Okpe was their top bowler, taking three wickets for 16 runs off seven overs, while Emmanuel Boniface took 2/1 off 2,3 overs.
The defeat has now added pressure on the young Namibian team, which will basically have to win its remaining matches to remain in contention for a place at the 2019 World Cup in South Africa.
At the WAP field, Uganda recorded a comprehensive 70-run victory over Kenya.
Uganda were struggling at 54 for five wickets, but a brilliant century partnership between captain Frank Akankwasa and Ashiraf Senkubuge put them in charge.
The big-hitting Akankwasa scored 62 runs, which included five sixes and two fours, while Senkubuge scored 56, as they recovered to score 206 all out.
Francis Mutua was Kenya's best bowler, taking three wickets for 43 runs, while Pradyuman Joshi took 2/24 and Vraj Patel 2/35.
In Kenya's innings, captain Sukhdeep Singh top scored with 31, but he received little support before the whole team was out for 136 runs.
Akankwasa completed a fine all-round performance by taking three wickets for 12 runs to win the man of the match award, while Trevor Bukenya took 2/21 and Juma Miyagi 2/32.
At the Trustco United field, Sierra Leone beat Tanzania by 27 runs.
Sierra Leone were all out for 126, with George Ngegba and Edmond Ernest both scoring 22 runs, while Dhrumit Mehta took 3/25 and Krutik Thakkar 3/23.
Tanzania were all out for 99, with Kartik Sayal scoring 21, while Chernoh Bah took 4/22 and Edmond Ernest 3/18 for Sierra Leone.