Nigeria’s Peter Aho entered the record books on 24th October thanks to a stunning spell in the fifth T20I of the recent six-match bilateral series against Sierra Leone at Lagos. The 18-year-old medium-fast bowler returned astonishing figures of 3.4-1-5-6, including a hat-trick, to dismantle the visitors’ batting line-up and hand his team a series-clinching win. These are now the best bowling figures in men’s T20 internationals.
Coming into this match, Nigeria were holding an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series, which had kicked off on 19th October with Sierra Leone marking their first men’s T20I with a thrilling six-wicket win. Needing to win both the remaining matches to draw level, Sierra Leone looked to be on course when they bowled Nigeria out for 90 in 17.4 overs. Medium pacer George Sesay, who is yet to turn 15, snared 3/8 in ten balls.
However, Aho struck twice in his first over, castling openers Ibrahim Mansaray and Abu Kamara to leave Sierra Leone at 2/2 after two overs. He went on to repeat the dose off the first two balls of his second over, this time accounting for Miniru Kpaka and Edmond Ernest to become the first Nigerian bowler to register a men’s T20I hat-trick. With the second over being a maiden, Aho’s bowling analysis at this stage read 2-1-1-4.
At the other end, Issac Okpe removed John Bangura, which reduced the score to 9/5 in the fifth over. Sesay and Samuel Conteh rebuilt the innings and steered Sierra Leone to 58/5 after 14 overs. But the off-spin of Sylvester Okpe (3/14) halted the stand just short of 50; he followed it up with the wickets of Conteh (34) and captain Lansana Lamin in his next over. Sierra Leone were now 67/8 and staring down the barrel.
Aho, who made his T20I debut against Kenya during the tri-nation series in Uganda last month, began his final over at 3-1-3-4, and duly completed his bag of five by bowling Abass Gbla off the first ball. Three balls and two runs later, he took his sixth wicket in the form of Sulaiman Tarawally – his fifth victim to be bowled – to clinch the world record and ensure a 19-run win for Nigeria with 14 balls still remaining.
The previous best bowling figures in men’s T20Is were 6/7 – the record was shared between India’s Deepak Chahar (against Bangladesh at Nagpur in 2019-20) and Uganda’s Dinesh Nakrani (against Lesotho at Kigali just last week). Moreover, Nigeria’s 90 is now the lowest total successfully defended in an unreduced men’s T20I, surpassing the mark of 94 set by Jersey against Denmark at Almeria earlier this month.