Sunday, July 30, 2006
It has been a long day at the office, and not just for me it appears. When I left for work this morning, Kenya were looking in good shape. We had Canada reeling at 5-85, and were contemplating a first innings lead. I have come home from work to find out that not only did Canada get themselves out of jail thanks to an unbeaten 91 from Qaiser Ali, but then went on to take 4 Kenyan wickets for 14 runs in 8 overs of play before the close. Bloody hell! Pardon my French, but that is as about as polite as I can be about it.
To be fair, it was only Ali who managed to get on top of the Kenyans, and at least we did not make the mistake of the Dutch match and let him get completely carried away, nor any of the other batsmen to join him scoring runs, though the tail provided enough resistance for a couple of vital partnerships. Behind him, the second highest scorer was Extras on 29 - way too many no-balls for my liking.
I'm getting tired of taking positives from dire situations, but here goes: Peter Ongondo continues to improve with each outing, his 4-49 off 19 overs easily the stand out effort from the bowlers. He is clearly relishing being given the new ball, and should be commended on a fantastic effort. Good also to see Nehemiah Odhiambo and Hiren Variaya get amongst the wickets. Odoyo's 2-for was also useful, but he needs to work on that front foot. All those being noted, it is exceedingly frustrating to see a last wicket stand of 49 from Canada. Couple that with the 18 no-balls, and they are sitting 67 runs further ahead than they really should be.
Not that 235 is such an imposing first innings target, or at least it should not be. When you lose your two opening batsmen without a run on the board however, the complexion changes somewhat. Add potentially the most dangerous batsmen in the competition out for 6 and then either the night watchman, or an inexplicable selection at number 3, also in the pavilion and we are in a World of hurt. Not only do wee seem to be up that creek, but the boat is made out of rice paper and dissolving fast.
Tomorrow is another day, and yet again Hitesh Modi will be asked to dig deep to save the side. All is not yet lost, and we still have batsmen left who can steer us to a first innings lead, but one or more of them are going to have to produce the innings of their career so far to do so. All of the following batsmen are capable of big scores: Modi, Odoyo, Collins Obuya and Mishra. More than ever, do we need one of them to deliver.
Before I end, there are a couple of questions I feel need to be asked at the end of day 1:
We have two bowlers in the team who were not used. Not even for one over. Both Brijal Patel and Collins Obuya must have been selected in the team for more than their batting alone. Even if the pitch was not spinning, even if they have not been in great form, surely they should have at least been tried. After all, Tony Suji got 7 overs and he was dispatched at more than a run-a-ball. In a 4-day game. Why were not Brijal Patel or Collins Obuya given even a couple of these 7 overs?
Tony Suji came in to bat at three again. Someone please tell me it was an attempt at a night watchman. Please. I have nothing against him as a player, but I will keep saying this until I am blue in the face - there are better options at number three. How often does this experiment have to fail before it is shelved and someone like Mishra given a real go in a position he could potentially hold for quite some time?
Finishing on a positive note, Kenya have at least had one question answered today: Who will take over from Martin Suji as our main bowler? Peter Ongondo has been the find of the year so far in terms of bowling. He has rediscovered himself after a fairly ordinary start to his career to be Kenya's go-to man with the ball this year. Long may his improvement continue and may it lead to others following his example. Especially with the bat and starting tomorrow.
Posted by Chemosit at 8:37 pm