Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Despite a fighting 89 not out from Collins Obuya, Kenya have gone down to Canada by 25 runs in their International Cup tie at the Maple Leaf Ground. Needing 291 to win, Kenya resumed at 2-45 in the second innings, but were finally bowled out for 265. It is a disappointing end to what has been a fascinating 4 days of cricket. To be fair to the Canadians, other than the first morning, they have mostly been on top and thanks to superb bowling efforts from Umar Bhatti did enough to stay there. There is no full scorecard online yet, so no word on how any other players went. I will do a more detailed post mortem of the match when they become availabe.
The long and the short of it is that we were outplayed by the better team on the day, but the ramifications for Kenyan cricket are deeper than that. We went into this match both as favourites and needing to win, as we did against the Netherlands, and both times have come up short. Instead of topping this group as expected, we will now have to play off against Bermuda to avoid the wooden spoon. Sadly, progression in this year's Intercontinental Cup has eluded us, though we still need to win against Bermuda to keep some pride. Next year's challenge will be a different format in which we will play each of the other top 7 Associates. That will give a complete ranking of the top 8 Associates and at the moment, we would not even be in the top half. Rebuilding must start now, and it must start with a domestic league that supports the longer format. Organising fixtures against other countries and sponsorship deals are important for the growth of cricket in Kenya, but for them to stick around, Kenya need to be competetive on the field. We cannot simple rely on natural talent to get us through in the Intercontinental Cup, we must prepare our players for it. The only way for them to do this is to play 4 day games domestically. This will in turn also strengthen our one-day play. Lets hope we see some action soon from Cricket Kenya on this.
On a more positive note, there are still two One-Day Internationals to be played this tour, so there is still time to exact our revenge. Losing to Canada in the just concluded match was a setback, but not a disaster. Several players, and importantly they were junior members of the team, came out of this match with fine personal performances. They need to take these through into the ODI's and maintain their confidence. Of the senior players, there should be enough experience to know that a defeat in one match can be avenged just as easily in the next. They have the ability to do this, so again must remain focussed and confident in themselves. We may be slipping down the Associate ranking in the 4-day game, but are still ranked top in ODIs. It is imperative that we defeat Canada in the two upcoming games if we are going to keep this position. I believe we can do it, it is important that the players do too.
Posted by Chemosit at 9:10 am