Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kenya Regain Respectability Despite Loss

In the end, the ICC rankings and record books will simply record it as the win that clinched Bangladesh the series, and a place in the Champions Trophy. For Kenya, I think it was much more than that. I hope history proves me right when I say it was the turning of the corner for us. For the first time this series, the Kenyan bowlers actually got to the opposition batsmen. Not only that, they bowled them out for 231 with overs still remaining.
Peter Ongondo did exactly as asked, and took wickets while keeping the runs conceded against him to less than 6 an over. Peter now has 17 wickets from 7 outings this year, and one would put money on him adding to this haul on Saturday. He is one of the players that seems to improve every time he picks up the ball, and surely it will not be that long before he takes 5 in an innings. Thomas Odoyo again bowled his heart out, and was this time rewarded with 2 wickets, including the early breakthrough that Kenya have so desperately needed. Kenya's back up bowlers also showed great improvement. Steve Tikolo finished with 3 wickets for 31 off his nine overs, and Jimmy Kamande finished with a tidy 1 for 40 off ten. Not so good were Collins Obuya and Kalpesh Patel who both went for 8 an over, but on the whole, this was a vastly improved performance from Kenya with the ball. While everyone chipped in, the Pick of the bowling had to be Peter Ongondo's 3 wickets to remove the middle order. I don't know how fit Peter is, but if he were up to it, he would be a good choice to bowl right through when he is taking wickets. He only bowled 8 overs this match, and had he completed his ten could well have finished up with more scalps. Well done the bowlers - a great effort, especially considering the last match.
231 should have been a chaseable score, and thanks to the lusty hitting of Peter Ongondo towards the end, it nearly turned out to be within Kenya's grasp. As it was, we were again let down by our top order. Kennedy Otieno's bad run continued as Mashrafe Mortaza dismissed both him and his brother David lbw to have Kenya reeling at 2-27. Tikolo and Modi steadied the ship briefly, but disaster struck when Razzak caught Tikolo off his own bowling. Modi followed shortly after, and then Odoyo to bring the score to 5 - 85. It was not looking good for Kenya, but out of the blue Collins Obuya and Tanmay Mishra set about rebuilding the innings. They built a partnership of 71 before Collins was adjudged lbw to Mohammad Rafique for 45. Kenya still had a mountain to climb in terms of run rate, but with Mishra solid at one end, Peter Ongondo came in and set about trying to win the match. As long as he was at the crease, one felt Kenya were in with a chance. In the end it was not to be, and he was uprooted by Rafique, but he had got Kenya to within sniffing distance. 7 -207, and a couple of quick boundaries would have seen Kenya in with a chance, but Bangladesh proved they are no longer chokers as they finished off the tail. Mishra again short of his fifty, this time by only two runs. He may be only 19, but he needs to stand up in the team meeting and demand to be moved up the order. His talent is too great to waste batting at 7. Had he been at 3, he probably would have 2 fifties for the series, and Kenya would have got a lot closer to winning tonight. As it was, we got within 20 runs before running out of wickets and overs in that order, but only just. Like the bowling, there are both bright points and worries with this batting performance. Bright points are, in my order of preference: Peter Ongondo's heroic effort to try and win us the match. Tanmay Mishra's continued improvement. Collins Obuya making up for his lack of bowling penetration. Hitesh Modi should probably get a mention too for helping steady the innings. A gutsy effort from the team, but let down by the experienced players who should be leading the way. Let's hope for everyone's sake that Tikolo, Otieno and Odoyo find their form for Saturday.
All in all, I felt that today Kenya were able to leave the field with their heads held high, despite the loss. Again it is difficult to allocate the points, but at least this time because there were several worthy performers. My points are as follows: 3 points: Peter Ongondo for his great spell to dismiss the Bangladeshi dangermen, and for his fighting 27 off 17. He is rapidly developing into one of Kenya's key players.
2 points: Tanmay Mishra for again being Kenya's highest scoring batsman. I nearly gave these points to Tikolo for his bowling, and considered Collins Obuya for his batting. In the end, I decided that they were let down by the discipline they were picked for, so 1 point each instead. Don't forget to put in your vote ON THE RED POLL.

Scorecard (cricinfo)


Anonymous said...

It was a bit surprising that Misra did not come earlier on the batting order despite his form. Mind it, top scoring three times at a row does deserves something better than number seven (well good for us). But I must give credit to Kenya for finally making a match competitive.

Now, it will be a really good one to see how the 4th one goes. If Bangladeshi players had complacency of any kind, they will sure forget about it after this performance from Kenya.

Hossain said...

If I were a Kenyan fan, I would be really upset with Tikolo and Harper for keeping Mishra so low at the batting order through out the series.

Why did not they use Ouma, the sub in the last match? Is not he a batsman?

It also seemed to me that Martin Suji's days are gone. I know that he came back from an injury to play this series, but I still think he is a big disappointment so far. For the WC'07, Kenya probably should invest on some younger prospects in his place.

Shaneabbas Merali said...

Very true guys. Why does Mirsha come in at 7. What were they thinking when they sent Collins out before him. Ok the gamble paid of Collins got us some runs. But wouldnt it have slightly dented Mirshas confidence. Is this another case of favorism so common in our team. Coz Kennedy has alot of clout in that team and Collins is his younger brother. Had Tanmay come in earlier we probably wuldnt have played so badly. And y didn we use our supersub as an extra batsman? That was just plain stupid. Come on Kenya what are u guys playing at? Sameer Inamdar can you sort out this mess!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on all account. Kenya is down but not out. It is not functioning all cylinders right now but watch out when it does. I think Misra is rapidly developing as a world class batsman. I am predicting that he will bat higher on Staurday. I will love to see how handles the quickies.

Regarding Peter's bowling, I think he was lucky on occasions to pickup cheap wickets. He may get hammered agains more composed batsmen. He tend to ball too may shorts. Fortunately for him he got two wickets off it.


Chemosit said...

Hopefully we see Mishra come in earlier this match. i'm happy with not using the sub though - it will not be available after the series anyway, and we need to get by without it. Also he is really badly out of form, so questionable whether it would make a difference.

Late Cut - I hope so regards T.M
As for luck, well i beilieve you make your own, but yes, he does need to tighten up more, and if he does,I think will take more wickets. Hopefully 5 for today ;)

hopefully Kenya will use the 'A' team fixtures that are coming up and the Intercon matches to groom the younger bowlers (and batsmen as well) for WC 07 and beyond.