Sunday, March 19, 2006

Heavy Loss For Kenya in First ODI

Friday's match against Bangladesh turned out to be something of a lesson for Kenya. It showed two things. One how much Bangladesh have improved since we last played them. Two, how far we need to improve if we are going to compete against other teams at this level.

Bangladesh looked in control right from the start, and it illustrates how much Kenya need to improve that 3 of the 7 wickets taken by Kenya were run outs, and none really served to stem the flow of runs. A score over 300 was always going to be daunting for the Kenyans, and by the early removal of Kenya's two best batsmen for only 29 it was pretty much all over. Almost all of the high points of the match came from Bangladesh, four especially showing their class in the first innings. Shahriar Nafees may not have reached his Century, but his 91 set the platform for Bangladesh's score, and earned him Man Of The Match. Aftab Ahmed's almost run-a-ball 62 compounded the damage, but for my mind it was the explosive batting of Mohamed Rafique (39 off 25), and then Mashrafe Mortaza (44* off 16) that really took the game away from Kenya. While it was hard to find positives from a Kenyan point of view, Thomas Odoyo's first spell was excellent. He went for only 2.6 runs an over from his first eight, and deserved more than the one wicket he ended up with. Unfortunately, he was one of the victims of the final onslaught, so his figures do not do full justice to his effort. If someone else had managed to step up to his level, things would have looked a lot brighter for Kenya. Peter Ongondo added another couple of wickets to his haul, but he needs to be a lot less expensive (he went for 7 an over) if he is going to make an impact against the stronger teams. On the whole, Bangladesh's innings was disappointing for us - why Collins Obuya was subbed off for Luseno after only one over also mystified me. For him to have been in the starting line up at all, they must have felt his form was on the way back, so why sub him off without even trying him, unless it was for an injury. As it was, Luseno was one of the trouble spots, conceding 22 runs off his only 3 overs, though why he opened and not the more experienced Martin Suji, again confuses me.

If Bangladesh's innings was tough for the Kenyans, our own was even worse. All hope of the match went with the wickets of Otieno and Tikolo for only 29 runs. Obuya's poor run as opening partner for Otieno continued. He looked tortured for the hour he was at the crease, and managed only 14 runs before becoming Syed Rasel's third victim. This position is becoming a real worry for Kenya, and needs to be addressed quickly if we are going to become more competitive. Again, the talent of Tanmay Mishra was wasted down the order. He was the pick of Kenya's batting making 43, even if it was a trifle slow. Surely, it is time he is given a chance to open. At worst, he can not be any weaker than the others tried in this position, and he may well be able to give Otieno the solid partner he needs at the top of the innings. Number 3 is also a worry. Tikolo should never have moved from 4 - it is a position he does well in, and to expose him at first drop seems crazy, especially if it is Otieno who is the opener out. Tony Suji was the second best of Kenya's batsmen, at lest bringing some respectability to the score by taking us into triple figures. At least he wasn't batting at three, but I would rather see him used at 6. Modi's cheap dismissal will also be a worry for the selectors. He was brought in to strengthen the batting, but showed little timing. If he can find his form, I would think him a better option at 3, and if not, maybe it Ouma has to be given a chance to redeem himself after his trip to Zimbabwe.

One player who must surely get a run next match is Kalpesh Patel. He can both bat and bowl, and it does not take a genius to see that we need to strengthen both these disciplines. He was taken to Zimbabwe, and inexplicably not used. Lets hope this crime is not repeated a second time. All together, a disappointing result for Kenya, but we are resilient if nothing else, and few of the players achieved their real potential on Friday. If even some of them can, we will be competitive. If all of them can, we could yet win. Let's hope that fighting spirit that is normally so strong in the Kenyan camp comes to the fore. For what it is worth, my scoring for the match for Kenya's players was: 3 points Tanmay Mishra. 43 well needed runs. Again falling shy of a fifty, and a tad slow, but compared to the others, a really gutsy effort. 2 points: Thomas Odoyo - basically for his first spell. Where others around him were going for 6 or seven an over, he held it together. Only the last 2 overs spoilt this otherwise fine effort. 1 point: Tony Suji for helping Kenya reach triple figures. Don't forget to put in your votes to the poll. It will close Sunday 26th.

No comments: