Saturday, March 04, 2006

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe Decider Washed Out

I hate being the bearer of bad news, but following the pitch inspection at 10:00 local time in Harare, the 5th and deciding ODI between Kenya and Zimbabwe has been abandoned, no result. This is very bad news for everyone involved with this series. Zimbabwe miss the chance to reaffirm their place above Kenya, and Kenya miss the chance to register their first ever series win, and also to overtake them on the ICC rankings. At the end of the series, Zimbabwe have 42 points, Kenya 37. This is a lot better than the 18 we went in with, but it is disappointing not to have the chance to overtake them in this series. Kenya do of course have 4 matches coming up against Bangladesh, so there is still chances to be had, but that will be a tough tour. For now, it will be a quick return to Nairobi, maybe a short time with families, then back into training again before jetting off to Dhaka to do battle with Bangladesh. There have been highs and lows on this tour, and I will post my two bits in the next day or so. For now, congratulations to the team for the two won matches, commiserations for the two lost, and a safe journey home.

Lottery to Fund Kenyan Sport

While we wait for news on whether the 5th ODI is going to start, I thought that a brief comment on this story in the Standard about President Kibaki proposing a Lottery to fund Kenyan sport. In some ways, this is great news - look at how sport in the UK has benefitted from their National Lottery. At the very bottom line, anything that generates income for sport in Kenya and so help raise the standards of facilities and training is to be encouraged. Cricket Kenya needs to make sure that, should this initiative go ahead, cricket will recieve its fair share.
Lotteries however, are an unpleasant way of making money, and in a country such as Kenya, I wonder whether the wanainchi who end up shelling out for the lotto tickets will actually benefit. Odds of winning money in a lottery are pretty slim - my mate Steve refers to them as a 'tax on stupid people', and yes, I do pay my tax. The difference is that I know the odds, and am prepared to spend the occasional fiver for the thrill of being 'in with a shout'. Last time I was back in Kenya, I was peturbed by the belief expressed to me by several people, that so long as they kept entering a lottery, it would only be a matter of time before they won big. A lottery to fund national sport is great, but it must be made clear to the punters exactly what their chances of winning are, or should I say aren't? Winning the World Cup funded by money from our countrymen who are starving because they spent their earnings on lotto would leave a pretty bitter taste in the mouth.

Kenya vs Zimbabwe 5th ODI - Delayed due to rain

New day, same story. Again the start of the match is delayed due to rain, so we will have shortened innings should the game actually get under way. No news yet on the teams, or toss.

Still no play. There is due to be a pitch inspection at 10:00 local time. That is about 45 mins from now. Fingers crossed we get a game...

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe: The Decider

Yesterday was not a good day for Kenyan cricket. For out bowlers, it was a struggle to contain Zimbabwe's batsmen, but they did show character in coming back to take 9 wickets after Zimbabwe had got off to a flier. For our batsmen, Kennedy Otieno and Peter Ongondo excepted, it was an unmitigated disaster. When only two members of the batting line up manage to get into double figures and one of those is the number 10, serious questions need to be asked. The trouble is, it is not a question of selection or lack of talent. On the whole, the players who took to the pitch yesterday for Kenya were the best team we could field. A change or two is possible; for example, a strong case could be made for including Kalpesh Patel, possibly in place of Brijal Patel or Alfred Luseno. He is the only member of the squad who has not had a chance to show his mettle, and the rest of the team have not been playing sufficiently well to warrant him being left out again. There may also be one or two players back in Kenya, Amit Bhudia for one, who could look to this tour, and think they may be in with a chance for selection for the trip to Bangladesh. For the most part however, the team that plays today will be very similar, as will the one that travels to Bangladesh. Somehow, the whole of the Kenyan team need to find the fighting spirit showed by Otieno yesterday. Make no mistake, if we play against Bangladesh like we did yesterday and in the first match of the tour, we will not only lose the series, we will lose credibility as well. Roger Harper and Steve Tikolo need to find an answer quick sharp.
Winning today's match will be seen as a must-do for both teams. Zimbabwe will not recover from a series loss to Kenya for a long time, and for Kenya, a loss would be a serious setback to the revival that is currently under way within the Kenyan cricket community. Tikolo has the quality and experience to lead from the front. He will need all of this and more tonight, in what is possibly the most important match he has played for his country. If Kenya can win today, we will show the World that our resurgence is on course. There may have been a couple of blips, but we are on our way back. If we lose, it is back to the drawing board, and another long hard slog to convince other Full Member teams we are worth playing. Kenya have the talent, they have the experience, and they have the character, lets hope they can find it today, and give the country its first ever series win.

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 4th ODI: Kenya Innings

Another bad start, with Kenya losing opener David Obuya early on for 5. He was caught Coventry, bowled Mahwire. After 6 overs, Kenya are 1-19 with Kennedy on 11, and Tony Suji, still batting at 3, yet to score from 14 deliveries. Surely it is time the Kenyan selectors experimented with a different player in this position. Suji is a fine player for lower down the order, but he does not have the strokeplay for this position in One Day cricket. Especially in a run chase like this, slow scoring puts extra pressure on the other batsmen in the team, increasing the likelihood of them getting out. Hopefully, Tikolo, Odoyo and Mishra will still bat in their accustomed positions, with Ouma coming in after Mishra. It is early days yet, and we can still win this match, but this tour has shown how badly Kenya miss a player of Ravindu Shah's quality to open with Kennedy.
Zimbabwe's bowlers continue to give Kenya trouble in the run chase. Suji fell for 2 from 22, surely his last effort at number 3! He was caught and bowled by Utseya. Then, a huge disaster for Kenya, Steve Tikolo bowled by Higgins for 2. This is a terrible blow to Kenya, as Tikolo is the one player with the potential to really rip apart a bowling attack. We will be hard pressed from here, and it will need the very best from Otieno, currently on 27 from 29, and Thomas Odoyo who has come to the crease, for us to recover.
In what is rapidly turning into a disaster for Kenya, Zimbabwe's bowlers have completely turned the tables on us. After 25 overs, Kenya have struggled to 7-72. Kennedy Otieno, who has done exceptionally well to reach his 50, is the only player to get past 5 runs. On Wednesday, we were able to hide poor batting behind a fantastic bowling effort. Today, there is no such luxury, and Kenya are very close to a humiliating defeat. Remove Otieno, and this is about the worst ever scorecard I think I have seen from a Kenyan team. We will have to really regroup before the deciding match tomorrow.
It is all but over now. Brijal Patel joined the rest of the Kenyans in the dressing room who failed to get over five. He was dismissed by Higgins for 2 off 19. Kennedy Otieno then finally holed out on 69 - a lone star on a very poor scorecard. Luseno and Ongondo are trying a last ditch effort to get Kenya to within a hundered. Ongondo is showing the rest how it is done on 17, and Luseno is Kenya's third highest scorer on 8. It pains me greatly to stay up till almost 3am to have to write that. I hope tomorrow sees a different result for Kenya.
It is over, and Kenya have suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of the hosts. Ongondo was the final wicket to fall for 17, but at least he got beyond double figures. Tomorrow better be an improvement. Kenya all out for 120 lose by 111 runs.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 4th ODI !st Innings: Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe have won the toss (that makes it 2-2 for the captains), and elected to bat. A brave decision after the debacle for them on Wednesday. After 5 overs, Duffin and Rinke have made a solid start, and the score is 24 for no loss of wicket. Odoyo has bowled 3 overs for 11 runs, but Luseno has been a little bit loose - 2 overs for 12. No mention has been made of shortening the match, so I'm assuming that it will still be the normal length. Hopefully Kenya can make a breakthrough while the ball is still new, and has not been damaged too much by the outfield.
This is a very different Zimbabwe from the one we say two days ago. Duffin and Rinke now have an unbeaten opening partnership of 65 from only 11 overs - pretty much a run a ball. Luseno has been removed from the attack after his 3rd over went for 12 runs, and was replaced by Ongondo, who has been marginally tighter. Odoyo completed his first 5 over spell without getting a wicket, and conceeded 28 runs. Ababu, brought on to replace him has so far been the tidiest of the four bowling one over for one run. Kenya now desperately need a wicket to slow the run rate, and prevent Zimbabwe building a platform for a large total.
After 15 overs, Zimbabwe continue to pile on the runs. Rinke is now on 36 off 45, and Duffin has moved to 33, from the same number of deliveries. Ababu has continued to be economic with 3 overs for 6 runs. Kenya's other bowlers however are not keeping it as tight as they could be - Tikolo brought himself on to replace Ongondo who was going for five an over, and conceeded 10 off his first. Hopefully things will change soon, otherwise Kenya will find themselves chasing a large total. Zimbabwe are 0-86, a run rate of 5.7 an over.
Finally a breakthrough for Kenya. Duffin was out, and a fitting reward for Josephat Ababu, who has bowled so well thus far. Duffin made 39 before being caught behind to give Ababu his first wicket for the series. His demise brings Masakadze to the crease to join Rinke, who has now reached his second 50 of the tour. Tikolo has also tightened up his bowling only conceeding 8 runs off his last three overs. This is a good fightback by Kenya, but they still need to take more wickets to keep the run rate down. After 22 overs, Zimbabwe are 1-106, with the run rate reduced to 4.8 an over. This is trend Kenya needs to maintain over the remaining overs of the game.
Excellent captaincy by Steve Tikolo. With the new man at the crease, he has brought back his strike bowler, Thomas Odoyo, who has repaid him with the wicket of Masakadze, edged to Kennedy Otieno for 4 from 21. Rink continues to be the danger man with 61 from 67, but Zimbabwe's run rate has dropped to 4.4. They are now on 2-119, with the new man at the crease Taylor, on 1 from 7. This is incidentally now the third time Odoyo has accounted for Masakadze this tour. Useful ammunition for the last game tomorrow. A good recovery from Kenya, but they still need Rinke's wicket, as well as the middle order.
Two important wickets have fallen in the last 8 overs. Rinke was finally run out for 72 off 70 - a really great series from him so far. Then Tony Suji continued his form from last match to dismiss Coventry for 11. At the 35 over mark, Zimbabwe are now 4-165. This is still a good platform for them to launch an attack in the last overs, so Kenya will need to use all of their experience and expertise to avoid this happening. The run rate has edged up slightly since the last update, and if they continue at this rate, they will end up on about 240 odd. Should they accelerate, they may well reach 250. This match looks like being a much harder one for Kenya, and should give us some practice at chasing a total.
This match is also giving Steve Tikolo a chance to rotate his bowlers, and see how they handle this sort of pressure. So far, he seems to be doing fairly well and hopefully someone will step up and provide a few more wickets for the skipper.
This has been a very interesting match so far. After the last update, Taylor and Chigumbura did very well to take the score to 217 before Thomas Odoyo clean bowled Taylor for 40 with the score at 217. Zimbabwe were still looking like setting an imposing target, when their middle order and tail were again torn apart by the Kenyan bowlers. Once again, it has been Peter Ongondo in the thick of it for Kenya. First he removed the vey dangerous Chigumbura for 36 off 25 by bowling him. Next ball, he repeated the achievement to send Mahwire's stumps flying, and Zimbabwe were 7 - 222. Odoyo not to be out done, then had the potentially dangerous Strydom caught for 5, before Ongondo struck to remove Higgins for 1. Zimbabwe are now 9 - 231 after 44 overs. This is the close of the innings as due to the delay, the match has been restricted to 44 overs each.
232 should not be too hard a target for Kenya to reach, but they will have to bat well. The run rate required will be 5.3 an over. It makes for an interesting second innings.

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 4th ODI Start Delayed

Again, the start has been delayed. This time due to a wet outfield. No news yet on when it will start, or on the team composition. hopefully, we will get a game...

Well at least the teams have now been named, which is promising. Still no mention though of when the match might start.

Zimbabwe: T Duffin, H P Rinke, H Masakadza, B R M Taylor, C K Coventry, E Chigumbura, G M Strydom, N B Mahwire, P Utseya, A J Ireland, R Higgins, K M Dabengwa (sub)

Kenya: K O Otieno, M A Ouma, A O Suji, S O Tikolo, T M Odoyo, T Mishra, J K Kamande, D O Obuya, J S Ababu, A S Luseno, P J Ongondo, B J Patel (sub)

Only one change from Kenya, David Obuya comes in in place of Brijal Patel who is now sub. A well deserved start for Obuya after last match. It is a real shame not to see Kalpesh Patel mentioned on the list. It seems a waste to take a promising young player on tour, then not give him a run - maybe tomorrow instead?
Zimbabwe bring in Mahwire to replace the youngster Meth, and have named Dabengwa as sub.

Raid on KTN and Standard

This was a despicable act, and one that should be condemned in the strongest terms. It has nothing to do with cricket, so I won't say much more, but such actions does Kenya's image huge damage in the eyes of the International community. It is time that Kenya and our administrators started to show a better face to the rest of the World. I hope we do not see anything like this again in our wonderful country, and that the perpetrators - govenment agents or not, be brought to swift justice. Acting in the 'interests of state security' is one thing, carrying out those actions in the manner they did is something else altogether.
Shame on those who ordered the actions, and shame on those who took part.

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 4th ODI Preview

Harare, scene of 20 wickets for 203 runs last match, is again the scene for the fourth match between the two sides. After the last match, moods in the team's camps are vastly different. Kenya are upbeat, and the relationship between coach and team is good. Harper is praising the players, and they in turn are vocal in their support for him. Tikolo has acknowledged that the batting needs to improve in a big way from Wednesday's effort, but the moral induced by a win seemingly snatched away from Zimbabwe, is high. Zimbabwe on the other hand offer a contrasting picture. Curran their coach, is not renowned for taking a soft line with his players at the best of times, and was fuming after last match. At the post match press conference, he lit into his young players, and they probably would have received a worse spray in the dressing rooms after the game. Whether this will have the desired effect remains to be seen. A young team could possibly benefit more from encouragement than being yelled at. Take a look at this article from cricinfo for the full story on the coaches' and player's reactions to the last game.
If it is again a bowler's wicket in Harare today, Kenya may opt for a slightly stronger batting line up, especially as this has been noted as a target for improvement by the captain. Ouma may find himself the victim of this, as David Obuya deserves to have a second crack after top scoring last match. I would like to see Obuya return to partner his brother Kennedy opening, and Ouma drop down to 3. Tikolo, Odoyo, Mishra and Kamande are looking good in the next few slots and probably will not be disturbed. Tony Suji should then be retained at 8 in place of Ababu, who was subbed out of the game last match without taking part. It is a shame for Ababu, but Suji on Wednesday got wickets, something that has so far eluded Ababu. With the wicket likely to favour the seamers, I would also give Kalpesh Patel a much-needed run at 8. He is more than capable with the bat should he be needed, and can also swing the ball. He is the only player on tour who is yet to play, and needs to gain experience for the future. Pete Ongondo holds down his bowling spot with ease, and his continued performance will be crucial to a third Kenyan victory. I would include Luseno again as the final pick. For a quick bowler, he has so far been fairly tidy, and will be improving with each outing. He needs to get used to the arena, and start taking wickets. His selection would have one eye on the future, as he will be needed as a strike bowler against Bangladesh and Kenya's opposition in the Intercontinental Cup. Experience against Zimbabwe will be key to achieving this goal.
Kenya seem to have established a mental superiority over the inexperienced Zimbabwe team, and this plus their team spirit should again get them over the line in this next match. We do, as Tikolo points out need to improve our batting performance. Hopefully Luseno, and Kalpesh should he get a run, will be able to chime in with some wickets in Zimbabwe's innings. I will not be able to do play by play updates for the initial stages as I will still be at work, but will be putting in my two bits from midway through the first innings. Lets hope Kenya can make it 3-1 and take the series!

Tour Statistics So Far

Statistics are a bit like snakes: utterly fascinating, but need to be treated with a great deal of caution. With that in mind, I have been having a little peek at the figures from Kenya's tour to Zimbabwe so far.

In regards batting, there seems little between the teams when you look at the averages for the top 5 from each team (strike rate in brackets):
1. Taylor ZIM 53.5 (79.85)
2. Tikolo KEN 43.33 (105.69)
3. Odoyo KEN 33.66 (82.11)
4. K.Otieno KEN 33.33 (57.14)
5. Rinke ZIM 32 (102.12)
6. Kamande KEN 32 (72.72)
7. Masakadza ZIM 31 (59.61)
8. Meth ZIM 28.5 (63.33)
9. Mishra KEN 22.66 (66.01)
10. Duffin 21.33 (79.59)

Looking at the bowling however, the Kenyan figures look much better - I have included only bowlers that have taken 2 or more wickets, they are sorted by average:

(Player, wkts, avg, Strike rate, Economy)
Suji KEN 2, 8, 15, 3.2
Ongondo KEN 8, 9.62, 15.6, 3.69
Odoyo KEN 5, 16, 22.8, 4.21
Patel KEN 2, 17, 25, 4.08
Higgins ZIM 3, 21.66, 38, 3.42
Ireland ZIM 6, 21.16, 27, 4.7
Rainsford ZIM 4, 24.25, 39, 3.73
Utseya ZIM 3, 37, 58, 3.82

Added to this is the fact that the only Zimbabwean bowler to have dismissed a Kenyan batsman twice is Rainsford, who has has Maurice Ouma lbw each time. Kenya's selectors may want to take this into account when they announce the team for today's match. Obuya deserves a second chance after top scoring in the last match, and has opened before. Ouma could possible drop down a place to number 3. Kenya's bowlers have been much better at getting on top of the opposition batsmen. Odoyo has twice removed both Duffin and Masakadza, while Peter Ongondo, who so far has the most wickets in the series, has twice accounted for opener Rinke, and the other hard hitting batsman Strydom.
Kenya's worry could be that the majority of wickets have come from these two bowlers, whereas Zimbabwe's wickets are more spread out. That said, Odoyo and Ongondo have done such a good job, that they have hardly needed the other bowlers. It is difficult to see the pitch recovering sufficiently from Wednesday not to still be a tough one for the batters. Kenya will be all too happy for that to be the case.

Correction to Ongondo and Suji figures

Just a quick correction to the figures given for Tony Suji and Peter Ongondo after the last match. Suji actually only got 2 wickets, giving him figures of 5 overs, 2 maidens, 16 runs and 2 wickets.
Peter Ongondo finished therefore with 5.5 Overs, 0 maidens, 14 runs and 4 wickets. An even better performance than previously thought!
Apologies for the mistake - I was getting my info from the live updates, and sometimes the finer tuning of the reports misses in detail.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kenya Fixtures and Results

Updated June 26th 2006. Hopefully we shall see some more red in the results section soon. Bangladesh's 3 ODI tour to Kenya in July is now confirmed.
I have added the Africa Cup in December, and will update when actual dates are released. Kenya are also due to host an Under 15's event for the East and Central Africa Region in August and the African Regional Women's World Cup Qualifiers in December 2006. Pencilled in also is a proposed tour by the MCC in February of next year and a tour by Sri Lanka in October/November. Also in are the fixtures included in the FTA scheduled for 2008.
Format is:
Date - Venue. Type of match. Opposition. Result.
Feb 24th Bulaweyo. ODI. Zimbabwe Lost by 8 wkts.

Feb 25th Bulaweyo. ODI. Zimbabwe Won by 79 rns.

March 1st Harare. ODI. Zimbabwe Won by 65 runs.

March 3rd Harare. ODI. Zimbabwe Lost by 109 runs.

March 4th Harare. ODI. Zimbabwe Match Abandoned

March 17th Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 131 runs.

March 20th Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 9 wkts.

March 23rd Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 20 runs.

March 25th Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 7 wickets.

March 26th Nairobi. OD. Kenya 'A' vs. Holland Lost by 100 runs.

March 29th - Apr 1st Nairobi Gymkhana. I.C Holland. Match Drawn. Holland take 1st innings points.

June 7th - MSC. Kenya A vs. Uganda. Lost By 3 Wickets.

June 7th - Coast Gymkhana. CCA vs. Tanzania. Won by 52 runs.

June 8th - MSC. Kenya A vs Tanzania. Won by 8 wickets.

June 8th - CG. CCA vs. Uganda. Lost By 71 Runs.

June 10th - MSC. Uganda vs. Tanzania. Uganda won by 6 wickets.

June 10th - CG. Kenya A vs. CCA. Kenya A won by 3 Wickets.

June 11th - MSC. Final: Kenya A vs. Uganda. Lost By 47 Runs.

June 11th - CG. Plate playoff. CCA vs. Tanzania. Lost By 22 Runs.

June 25th - Aalborg CC (Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Aalborg CC. Won by 111 Runs.

June 26th - Esbjerg CC (Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Esbjerg CC.

June 27th - Herning CC (Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Herning CC.

July 1st - Svanholm Park, National Danish Cricket Stadium. Kenya 'A' vs. Denmark.

July 2nd - Svanholm Park, National Danish Cricket Stadium. Kenya 'A' vs. Denmark.

July 5th - Glostrup CC(Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Glostrup CC

July 19th - Nairobi Gymkhana . ODI. Bangladesh.

July 22nd - Nairobi Gymkhana. ODI. Bangladesh.

July 23rd - Nairobi Gymkhana. ODI. Bangladesh.

July 29th - Aug 1st Canada. I.C. Canada

Aug 5th - Canada. ODI. Canada

Aug 6th - Canada. ODI. Canada

Aug 9th - Canada. ODI. Bermuda

Aug 10th - Canada. ODI. Bermuda

Aug ? - Nairobi. East and Central Africa Under 15's tournament. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda.

Aug 29th - Sept 4th - Commonwealth Centre of Excellence tour to Kenya. 3 OD matches vs. Kenya national team.

Sept 2006 - Kenya. Uganda tour. Details to come.

Oct/Nov 2006 - Kenya?. Sri Lanka A tour. To Be Confirmed.

Nov 9th - 12th Kenya. I.C. Bermuda

Nov Kenya. ODI. Bermuda
Nov Kenya. ODI. Bermuda
Nov Kenya. ODI. Bermuda

Dec 2006. South Africa. Africa Cup. (South Africa 'A', Zimbabwe 'A', Kenya, Uganda & Namibia). Details to come.

Dec 2006. Kenya. Africa Regional Women's World Cup Qualifiers.

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland Dates T.B.C
Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland
Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland
Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland
Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland

Jan 20th - Kenya. ODI. Scotland World Lge Div 1

Jan 21st - Kenya. ODI. Canada "

Jan 23rd - Kenya. ODI. Bermuda "

Jan 24th - Kenya. ODI. Ireland "

Jan 27th - Kenya. ODI. Holland "

Jan 28th - Kenya. ODI. ???? FINAL

Jan 31st - Kenya. ODI. Ireland

Feb 1st - Kenya. ODI. Holland

Feb 2007 - Kenya. Proposed tour by MCC.

Mar 5th - Jamaica. ODI. West Indies W.C warm up

Mar 8th - Jamaica. ODI. Holland W.C warm up

Mar 14th - St.Lucia. ODI. Canada W.C Grp C

Mar 20th - St.Lucia. ODI. New Zealand W.C Grp C

Mar 24th - St.Lucia. ODI. England W.C Grp C

May 2008 - South Africa. Tri series (RSA, Kenya, Scotland).

June 2008 - Scotland. Tri Series (Scotland, Kenya, New Zealand).

Kenya's Bowlers Dominate to take 2-1 series lead.

Two hours ago, I was in a foul temper and wondering why Steve Tikolo opted to bat first. Now, I'm buzzing with joy, too excited to go to bed despite it being past 2 in the morning, and most humbly begging our captain's pardon.
What a cracker of a match. I never in my wildest dreams thought 134 would be anywhere near enough runs - especially after the first ODI. I thought that the low total was our batsmen failing to perform. In fact, 134 was a good total on what must have been an appalling pitch. For ten wickets to fall for 203 runs, there must be serious problems with the wicket. Lets hope they are ironed out by Saturday if that is possible. With this in mind, I would like to revisit the first innings. David Obuya's 23, and 17 each from Mishra and Kamande - well done lads. A good effort in bad conditions.
To the second innings - wonderful bowling from Thomas Odoyo to take care of the top order. But Tony Suji and Peter Ongondo - 6 wickets for 4 runs to wrap up the match. There are not the words to describe it. I had to leave the computer and come back to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks. Bowling figures for the Kenyans:
Overs: Maidens: Runs: Wickets:
Odoyo 6.0 0 13 3
Luseno 6.0 0 25 0
Ongondo 5.5 0 14 3
Suji 5.0 0 16 3
Well done all round. For Ongondo and Suji, these are career best figures. Congratulations. For Luseno, a pity no wicket, but he did well not to be overawed by the situation. It would have been no mean effort opening the bowling knowing the opposition were only chasing a small target. Credit to Steve Tikolo for his captaincy, and handling of the attack. Well done the team. To come back from being down and dusted to win, and so convincingly, is a fantastic effort. People will go on about the pitch, and about how bad Zimbabwe must be. At the end of the day, it was the players who went out there and did what they had to do to ensure the best team won. There are still 2 matches to go, then a much tougher assignment in Bangladesh, but for the rest of today, enjoy the victory: you've earned it!


I will post a bit better on this in a minute when I have recovered.
We've WON!!!!
Zimbabwe all out for 69
Fantastic effort from the Kenyan bowlers!

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 3rd ODI: Zimbabwe Innings

Thomas Odoyo has struck twice early on to remove two of Zimbabwe's dangermen - Rinke for 2, and Masakadze for a duck. After 7 overs, Zimbabwe are 2-22. This is a good start for Kenya, but the wickets need to continue to fall.
Infact, as I write, there is an update to the effect that Kenya have another wicket. They are now at 3-38 with Odoyo now accounting for the captain Duffin for 8. Coventry is on 10, and Taylor on 15, both batsmen we need to remove soon to stay in with a chance.
Peter Ongondo has struck to remove Coventry caught and bowled, to take Kenya one wicket closer to an upset after the first innings. That said, Taylor continues on 32, and his wicket will be crucial to this match. Zimbabwe are almost half way to the target, so Kenya need wickets again, and quickly. Suji has been introduced to the attack to spell Odoyo, but Thomas may well be brought back to finish his overs and try to snare a few more wickets as soon as he is rested.
Now Tony Suji gets in on the act with the prize wicket of Taylor, caught behind for 33. Zimbabwe now 5-66. This is developing into a very intense match.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 3rd ODI - 1st Innings: Kenya

Play is due to start at 10am local time now after a delay for rain. Umpires will be R B Tiffin, T H Wijewarene.
The match has been reduced to 44 overs per innings.
I had no idea that it was still so early in Zimbabwe - they must origionally have been due to start at 8:00am!

Kenya Win Toss and Elect To Bat.
Steve Tikolo has won the toss, and decided to bat first. After 3 overs, Kenya are on 15: Maurice Ouma 11 off 11, and Kennedy Otieno still trying to get his eye in on 1 from 9 balls. Rainsford and Ireland Open the bowling for Zimbabwe with contrasting results. Rainsford has 2 overs, 1 maiden and conceeded 2 runs. Ireland has bowled 1 over for 13. If we can continue to treat their best bowler like this, we could do well, but must not allow the others to get on top of us. Especially in a match where run rate could be the all important deciding factor.
Zimbabwe appear to have made one change to last match with Chigumbura replacing Mahwire. Kenya's side is unchanged.
7 overs gone, and Kenya are not off to a good start. Ouma has perished for 12 bringing Tony Suji to the crease. Rainsford who took the wicket now has figures of 4 overs, 1 Maiden, 4 runs and 1 wicket. Last match he went for 5.3 an over! Ireland has also tightened up after his loose start. Kenya need to get on top of these bowlers otherwise it will put a lot of presure on the batsmen who come in later on. It is now 1-20. A run rate of only 2.8!
Things are going from bad to worse in the Kenyan innings. After 12 overs, we are now at 3-45 having lost both Kennedy Otieno and Tony Suji. This reinforces the fact that the selectors need to examine the top of the order. Otieno is still our best choice to open, but maybe needs a different partner to Ouma. Options include Mishra, or David Obuya who both have experience facing the new ball. Number 3 should probably be either Ouma or Mishra. I feel Ouma should be retained in the team, despite his nightmare start to the tour, but tried one place down the order.
At least Kenya's run rate has risen a bit to 3.75, but it is still a long way from what we need. Tikolo and Odoyo, now have to consolidate and put on a really good partnership for Kenya here.
Rainsford has taken all 3 wickets. Otieno fell caught Taylor for a slow 13, while Suji managed 6 off 11 before being caught by Utseya.
Disaster for Kenya. Steve Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo have both fallen cheaply. Tikolo to Ireland for 9, and Odoyo lbw to Utseya, also for 9. It is now up to Mishra and Kamande to try to rescue some respectability for the Kenyan innings. Mishra is currently on 13, and Kamande on 7. Unfortunately it looks as though the decision to bat first with moisture in the air is really going to come back to haunt the tourists. David Obuya can possibly be brought in as a sub - possibly for Patel, but Kenya's chances are certainly looking bleak at this stage. After 20 overs, Kenya are 5-77. Run rate is pretty immaterial now - we need to bat out the remaining overs, but it is 3.85.
Another wicket - this time Mishra caught Taylor, bowled Higgins for 17. As expected, David Obuya has been brought in to try to help Jimmy Kamande steer Kenya to a total at least in the last 13 overs. If the pitch is as bad as Kenya's innings makes it look, we may be able to defend something in the region of 150 plus. This has not been a good performance though by the batsmen whatever the pitch. Kenya are now on 6-96 with 13 overs remaining. It is imperative that we at least see these out, and get what we can from them.
Kenya on 8-106 as Rainsford strikes again. Brijal Patel joins Obuya at the crease. I'm puzzled by the choice of player subbed off for Obuya - it must be either Ababu or Luseno. I would hope Ababu, as Luseno might be a better chance of taking a wicket. 6 overs left, and a pretty dismal total on the board. Kenya are going to do well to avoid a humiliation here. At least both these players have something to prove in terms of selection. If ever there was a time to grab your chance, this would be it.
Kenya's innings has ended on 133 all out with just 7 balls remaining. The wickets to fall were Obuya - caught Duffin, bowled Rinke, Patel run out for 6 - inexcusable under the circumstances, and Ongondo bowled Rinke for 8. Credit to David Obuya for top scoring with 21. It is not a good score, far from it, but at least it can be defended. It will however, take a supreme effort to do so - Kenya will need early, cheap and regular wickets if we are to avoid a heavy loss. There is not much good to be taken from the Kenyan innings. Kamande and Mishra again showed potential without fully realising it, and Obuya did enough to warrant another chance. For the rest, it has simply posed more questions. Hopefully, the second innings will bring more joy, but it could be an unpleasant afternoon for the tourists.

Draw for Nakuru Akshar League on 8th March

Team submissions need to be in for Nakuru clubs wishing to take part in the Akshar Limited Overs League in Nakuru by March 6th in time for the draw on March 8th at the NAC clubhouse. Teams may comprise a squad of up to 15 players, with the squads fixed for the duration of the tournament. Each side will field for 40 overs, with the number of overs for bowlers limited to 8. The first match is scheduled to be played on Sunday March 12th.
Points will be awarded for winning the game (12 pts), plus there will be a tiered system of bonus points to reward milestones reached by either team. The team batting will score 1 bonus point on reaching each of the following scores: 100, 125, 150, 170 - to a maximum of 4. Bonus points, again to a maximum of 4 will be awarded at each of the following for the fielding team: 3wkts, 5wkts, 8wkts and for bowling the opposition out.
Matches will be played at the NAC ground and officated by umpires chosen by the NAC. would like to join the organisers in wishing all the best to the teams taking part.

Kenya vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI

The start of the third ODI between Kenya and Zimbabwe is currently delayed due to rain. A frustrating wait for both sides who would be itching to get out into the middle to try and gain the edge in the best of five series.

Kenya vs. Zimbabwe 3rd ODI Preview

The third One Day International gets under way in Harare later today. So far, the first two matches have given vastly different results, and that makes today's game all the more exciting. Zimbabwe drew first blood against what was a Kenya team arguably tired after a travel debacle that saw them waiting 9 hours in Jomo Kenyatta Airport. Electing to bat, Kenya were restricted to 229, a score that Zimbabwe hardly broke a sweat in reaching. One day later and everything had changed. Again Kenya batted first, but this time, led by a captain's innings by Steve Tikolo, it was the Kenyans who always looked in charge. Several players contributed to the 79 run win, as the bowlers took regular Zimbabwe wickets during the chase after the batsmen had set Zimbabwe 285 to win.
Today will be a different venue, and a different wicket, so it is hard to call. One of the key players for Zimbabwe will be Ireland - he has taken 5 wickets this series already. Their most dangerous batsman is opener H P Rinke. He scored 42 in the first innings, and a half-century in the second. If we could knock him over early, it would do them a lot of damage. So far, Peter Ongondo has got him both times, so look out for an early spell from him. Of their other batsmen, Duffin, Masakadza and Taylor all scored half centuries in the first innings, but failed in the second.
For Kenya, our key player is obviously Steve Tikolo. He is scoring at a run-a-ball so far, and if he can notch up a second big score, it would put us in great stead. Kennedy Otieno did well to reach 74 in his first innings, but only managed 13 in the second match. Either he, or Maurice Ouma, who has yet to make his mark, needs to get the Kenya innings off to a good start. Two other players who have impressed so far are Thomas Odoyo - his input will be crucial with both bat and ball, and Kenya's top bowler thus far, Peter Ongondo. It would be really great to see one of Kenya's bowlers end the day with a 5 wicket haul. Youngsters Alfred Luseno and Tanmay Mishra seem to be gradually finding their feet. Kenya will be looking for continued improvement from them over the next three matches. It is a difficult game to pick, but I am going to go with the heart and go for Kenya. I think the first match caught us a bit unawares, and we have had time to acclimatise, so the experience gap should mean more . I will of course be doing my best to run a play by play commentary as and when I can.

Four ODI's Confirmed for Bangladesh Tour

The Ininerary for Kenya's tour to Bangladesh is as follows. Great to see that we will have 4 ODI matches, so enough to qualify for a ranking.

Kenya tour of Bangladesh
14th March to 26th March 2006
Day Date Travel & Match Schedule
Day-01 14 Mar - Tuesday Kenya Team Arrive in Dhaka
Day-02 15 Mar – Wed. day Travel & Practice
Day-03 16 Mar - Thursday Rest & Practice
Day-04 17 Mar - Friday 1st One Day – Bang. Vs. Kenya at Bogra
Day-05 18 Mar - Saturday Travel & Practice
Day-06 19 Mar - Sunday Rest & Practice
Day-07 20 Mar - Monday 2nd One Day – Bang. Vs. Kenya at Khulna
Day-08 21 Mar - Tuesday Travel & Practice
Day-09 22 Mar - Wed. day Rest & Practice
Day-10 23 Mar - Thursday 3rd One Day – Bang. Vs. Kenya at Dhaka
Day-11 24 Mar - Friday Rest & Practice
Day-12 25 Mar- Saturday 4th One Day – Bang. Vs. Kenya at Dhaka
Day-13 26 Mar- Sunday Kenya Team Depart from Dhaka
This does unfortunatley mean that Kenya will not be able to play Holland on the 26th as previously arranged. I believe they will now probably play Kenya 'A' instead, which will be great exposure for our up an coming players. I do believe it would be in the interests of both teams for Holland to stay on and play an ODI after the Intercontinental match. Kenya needs to play it's part as the big brother to the Associates and ensure they get ODI games too, and even though they are not ranked, Kenya can still earn valuable points by beating them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More on Tony Suji at 3 - Some guest opinions

I'm glad to say it is not just me that thinks Tony Suji would be better off batting down the order, and a genuine batsman come in at number three.
Here is what Shaneabbas writes from London on the series so far, but most importantly Kenya's batting:
I think Kenyans were slightly over confident of giving the Zims a right thrashing and it didn’t go to plan. Well fingers crossed for Wednesday. On to Tony - we have played against each other. And even in the domestic scene he didn’t bat this high up the order. He may make runs against a weakened Zimbabwean side but I do not see him being very successful against Bangladesh, let alone the big guns of world cricket. In the past Kenyans have tried Brijal, Jimmy and David Obuya in that crucial No. 3 position, however none of them made any impression at all. I feel its time we give a decent prospect and some one who can bat in that position for years to come a chance there. My personal choice would be a certain Amit Bhudia from Mombasa, or it could be Tammy Mirsha as well. However if Ravindu makes the next team, then Maurice Ouma wouldn’t be a bad choice to bat there as well. We need to find someone who can make the most of the fielding restrictions in the first 20 overs, or someone who can also rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard ticking along. I feel this is Kenyans biggest weakness i.e the lack of making runs in the middle of an innings. Often I get the impression that batsman are not happy with taking singles or in some cases not good enough to get the ball in gaps and keep the scoreboard ticking along. If they cant get the singles they often try and hit out and get caught out most of the time. What I feel is that they need to be shown the importance of singles and the perfect example for them would be Rahul Dravid who is not an explosive batsmen at all but compensates for that by picking of singles and waiting for the bad ball to score his boundaries off. I feel we get too bogged down in the middle of an innings and block to many balls.
And from 'Simba' in Canada:
I agree with Suji coming in down the order. Not to sure what your opinion on Hitesh Modi would have been, but it would have been nice to see a LHB coming lower down the order as well, I think Modi has done a good job in the past.
Thanks for the feedback from both - it is always great to hear from other fans of Kenyan Cricket out there, so if anyone has something to say, or just wants to make contact, you can get in touch via the email link in the profile section at the top of the page.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Kenyan Win Levels The Series

Well, we knew that last night, before I went to bed, but it has a nice ring to it, so I thought I'd say it again. I like the sound of it for several reasons: First we won. Against a Full member. They may be going through strife, but that doesn't matter, we beat them and convincingly so. Second is that we came back from ourselves being trounced a day before. That is no easy thing to do in any sport, let alone cricket where the mental game is so important. Two days ago, our batsmen largely struggled, and our bowlers seemed incapable of taking a wicket. Yesterday, lead by a wonderful 98 by Steve Tikolo, our batsmen, and inportantly, the middle order looked imposing. Our bowlers, who had been belted around the same ground a day earlier, came back strong to bowl the Zimbabweans out with 4 overs and 79 runs to go. That is a huge effort and should be commended. Third, we are in a series. Against a Full member. And there is another one due to start almost as soon as this one finishes. Considering that Kenya has not even played a full member country for 2 years this is in itself a huge step. Make no mistake, yesterday was the day when Kenyan cricket stood up and showed it was worth being counted. Harare beckons, and Kenya will go into Wednesday's match with the confidence that they can win. They should not be overconfident - several of the Zimbabweans have shown plenty of fight and talent, but we have proved to the World and ourselves that we can win.
It was also exciting to see that several of the players who had an impact are still young. Tanmay Mishra's 45 speaks of big things to come for the 19 year old, although he needs to worry less about reaching milestones and just get on with it. Likewise Alfred Luseno showed sand to tighten his line and take a wicket in his second spell. It was his first in One Day Internationals, and will have given him the taste for more and the confidence to go after them. Maurice Ouma failed again with the bat, but showed safe hands in the field. His batting will come good as he is more than capable. All I would like to see now is Kalpesh Patel get a run - probably in place of Ababu, who was the only bowler not to take a wicket yesterday.
I am not forgetting our seasoned players. Tikolo's 98 may well be seen as the turning point in this series, and Odoyo again did his bit with both the bat, and then the ball to take the first two wickets. One player who has really started to impress over the last couple of tours is Peter Ongondo. He was the pick of Kenya's bowling yesterday taking 3-26, all crucial wickets. In a way it was a shame that he only bowled 7 overs, so missed the opportunity to take a bigger haul, but good captaincy by Tikolo to ensure that all his bowlers got a taste of the action. There is nothing like a whiff of success to spur a player on.
It is worth noting the difference in extras between the two matches. On Saturday, Kenya gave away 18 extras in a total of 231. Yesterday, they only gave away 7. I don't know whether this was due to the fact that they were tired on Saturday, or it was a concious effort yesterday, but the improvement is worth noting. All in all, there has been a lot of positives to come from the weekend. There are still some things I am unsure about - Like Tony Suji at 3, but if Kenya keep winning, I guess I will learn to get used to them. I can't wait 'till Wednesday and Harare!
Full Scorecard from cricinfo.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Kenya vs Zimbabwe 2nd ODI - Zimbabwe Innings

I will endeavour to keep up to date with this throughout the night, however I do have to work tomorrow, so excuse me if I have to tear myself away to go to bed.
Kenya need to restrict Zimbabwe to less than 285 to win the game and level the series. We have the bowlers to do this, but they must all perform to potential. It is especially important that our strike bowlers namely Odoyo, and I would assume Luseno, take early wickets.
Thomas Odoyo has struck early to remove Zimbabwe captain Terry Duffin caught behind for 3. This is exactly the start Kenya were looking for after struggling to take wickets yesterday. Just as Tikolo has renewed faith that we can bat, this should inspire the rest of the bowlers as well. Good to see he is opening with Luseno. After 3 overs, Odoyo has 1 maiden, and 1-4, while Luseno has bowled 1 over for 2 runs. Granted it is very early days, but this is just what Kenya need.
The run chase seems evenly poised at the moment. Odoyo removed Masakadza for 10, caught Ongondo, but Rinke and Taylor are going at over a run a ball and looking dangerous. Zimbabwe are currently on 2-69 after 11 overs, and Kenya now desperately need a third wicket to slow the run rate. A bowling change must be in the offing with Odoyo having bowled 6 overs and taken 2 for 32, and Luseno having bowled 5 and taken 0-35. Ongondo will probably be thrown the ball and asked to either stem the flow of runs, or even better, take a wicket or two.
Peter Ongondo has struck 3 times in 5 overs to leave Zimbabwe reeling at 5-122 after 22 overs. Luseno, who was earlier going at 7 runs an over has also made a comeback, and bowled a tighter line to have figures of 9 overs, no wicket, 43 runs (4.8 an over). All Ongondo's wickets have been players who were looking dangerous: Rinke hit 52 off 45, Taylor was 10 off 10, and Strydom was 18 off 19. Zimbabwe's run rate is still a worry, but the regular loss of wickets will be a concern, and should increase the pressure on the batsmen at the crease. Of the bowlers, we will probably see Tikolo coming in to the attack soon to add further pressure with his spin, and possibly either Kamande or Patel as well. Ababu is a bit of a concern, as he has bowled 2 overs and conceeded 11 runs. In the domestic league, his wickets come from restrictive bowling, which is not happening at this higher level. Zimbabwe's most dangerous remaining batsman is Coventry who is on 17 from 18 balls faced. If we can remove him without conceeding too many more runs, we will be a long way towards winning the match.
Finally a wicket to reward the hard work for Alfred Luseno. He has had Coventry caught by Ouma for 23, which is incidentally his third catch of the day. Steve Tikolo has also had Higgins caught behind for 5 to have Zimbabwe in real trouble at 7-154 with 30 overs gone. This leaves Zimbabwe needing over a run a ball with only 3 wickets in hand. It is good to see Kenya's bowlers doing what they failed to do yesterday. Especially nice is seeing the youngster, Luseno take his first ever ODI wicket - hopefully there will be many more over his career. The game is looking increasingly better for Kenya, but the teenager, Meth still needs to be taken care of. He is currently on 29 with a 100% strike rate, so still a danger. 3 more wickets, and we're there though - it is so close you can feel it.
Kenya are nearing an historic victory at Bulaweyo: Brijal Patel has got in on the act bowling Mahwire, and Utseya has given Ouma his fourth catch off Kamande's bowling. Meth is still putting up a spirited resistance on 42, but it is nearly game over for Zimbabwe. They are 9-183 with 9 overs remaining, so need to score at 11 runs an over. Finally, all that everyone involved with Kenyan cricket has worked so hard for is within our grasp. This is a day that will long be remembered for cricket in Kenya.
It is all over. Meth out - caught Ouma (who it now appears was falsely credited by the beeb with more catches than he actually took), bowled Patel.
Zimbabwe are all out for 205, and Kenya win by 79 Runs. I will post on this result more at leisure. For now, it is 2:30 am, I'm off to bed and dreams of victory and the great future of Kenyan cricket.
Lala salaama.

Kenya vs Zimbabwe 2nd ODI

Zimbabwe Win Toss.
Zimbabwe have won the toss and elected to field. Maurice Ouma ia an early casualty trapped LBW by Rainsford for 4 with the total at 11.
You have to be kidding me - Suji is in at 3 again. Why? He is not a sufficiently accomplished batsman for this position. I hope he proves me wrong, but he potentially puts a lot of pressure on the others if he cannot maintain a decent run rate. Zimbabwe showed yesterday that Kenya will need to set a target of 280 odd to be competetive. A great shame for Ouma - he needs to come good soon. Each time he doesn't, he increases pressure on himself. The side seems to be pretty much unchanged from yesterday. Why take youngsters like Luseno and Kalpesh Patel, and not use them? I cannot believe that after yesterday's efforts with the ball, the attack has not been changed.
The game is live on two sites:BBC and ECB. I shall also be posting here as long as I can through the night.
Kennedy Otieno out - caught Mahwire, bowled Ireland for 13. Steve Tikolo replaces him at the crease, and is currently on 11. Score is 2-39 after 11 overs.
Exactly the start Kenya did not need. Hopefully Tikolo can come up with a captains innings, and Suji proves me wrong.
Correction - there has been a change to the bowling, Luseno is in for Ngoche (BBC just updated their page). I would have changed Ababu myself, but at least it is something. Lets hope he has an effect.
Finally an update without a wicket. After 15 overs, Steve Tikolo appears to be trying to assert himself. He has moved to 29 off 26. Lets hope he can keep it up. Suji is being steady on 11 off 32 which is fine so long as Steve keeps going, but again, it is too slow a run rate for a number 3. After 15 overs, Kenya are 2-62.
2-97 after 20 overs. Steve Tikolo is nearing his half century. He is currently 46 from 40 balls, while Suji is still with him on 29 off 48. Keep it up guys!
Suji has perished for 36 of 52, which brings Thomas Odoyo to the crease to join Tikolo, who continues at well over a run a ball for 77 off 53. This could be a very important partnership for Kenya. If Tikolo can continue, and Odoyo repeat his performance of yesterday, we could set a very defendable total. I ma still unconvinced on Suji at 3. His runs came at a time when kenya needed to steady the ship, and he provided good back up to Tikolo. I still feel, we would be better off with a better batsman at 3, and Suji a bit further down the order. Score after 26 overs, 3-142. Run rate now up to just under 5.5. Hopefully this partnership keeps it moving in that direction.
Bad news, Steve Tikolo has been caught and bowled by R.Higgins two runs short of his century. His 98 came off 75 balls and included 14 boundaries. It is great to see Tikolo showing his skill, but a shame for him to fall so close to another milestone. His departure brings Tanmay Mishra to the crease to join Thomas Odoyo who has been playing second fiddle to his captain with 16 off 36. Odoyo now needs to step up, and take the fight to the Zimbabweans himself. Mishra, who was run out for 4 last match, now has a great opportunity to show his worth for Kenya. Lets hope they can take us to a good total. The run rate is currently 5.3, and we need to set Zimbabwe about 280 to 300 to be competetive, judging by yesterday's match. There are still wickets in hand, and enough overs that sensible batting, then a launch in the last few overs could take us there.
10 overs to go, and still 6 wickets in hand. Thomas Odoyo has moved to 30 from 50, and Tanmay Mishra, the 19-year old has hit 25 off 26. Kenya are 4-214, and have scored at a rate of 5.35. with wickets in hand, we should see an escalation of the run rate in these last overs. At the present rate, we will set a target of 267, at 6 an over, we will set 274, 7 an over will give us 284, and 8 an over a very handy 294. I would say anything from 280 upwards should be defendable, so long as the bowlers can perform to their potential. It is great to see Mishra making a decent fist of it - hopefully, he can continue on to post a big score for himself, and Kenya.
5 overs to go. Odoyo has fallen to Higgins, caught Taylor for 38. Mishra continues to show why he was brought on this tour with a useful 45 off 50. He needs to step it up in the final 5 overs to take Kenya to a defendable total. Kamande has joined him at the crease, and is currently on 9 from 12. Kenya are 5-258 with 30 balls remaining. At the very least, we need to finish at a run a ball, and Mishra, being the batsman in, has to increase the tempo. All in all though, this has been a much better performance than yesterday.
UPDATE 9 & Summary of Kenya's innings:
A late flurry by Jimmy Kamande after the loss of first Tanmay Mishra, who got bogged down trying to reach his maiden 50 (he made 46 off 62), and then Peter Ongondo for a duck, has helped Kenya to a total of 7-285 at the end of 50 overs.
Kamande, who came into this tour with his place in the side very much at risk, has performed well so far with the bat, and todays effort - 32 not out from 20 balls, including 5 fours may have marked his belated coming of age. He has missed much of the action over the last few years due to a suspect bowling action, but if as is reported, that is now fixed, his resurgence will be a useful boost to Kenya's game. Two other players stand out for their efforts today. Steve Tikolo came to the crease with the tour in a precarious position. We had been thumped yesterday, and with 2 cheap wickets down, things were not looking good today. To take only 75 balls to reach 98 in that position is a real indicator of his class. Not only was it a captain's knock in the context of the game, but will have restored belief in the team that we can win the series. It is a huge shame he did not get his hundred - seldom has one of our players deserved it more.
Then there is young Tanmay Mishra. Only 19, and having been run out for 4 on debut yesterday, he must have felt immense pressure when he came to the crease. His first 45 runs came at a run a ball, before the occasion got to him and he allowed himself to be tied down. Those runs were very important for Kenya, and confirm Mishra's quality. As he matures, he will find it easier to get over the milestones, and there should be many. His performance is heartening news for Kenya, as it shows that there is talent there that will replace the current players as they move towards retirement. If Alfred Luseno, who would have been watching from the boundary, can follow Mishra's example when he bowls this afternoon, it could be a very good day indeed for Kenya cricket.
285 leaves Zimbabwe needing just under six an over to chase. With the fielders we have, it should be possible for the bowlers to stifle the batsmen enough that this creeps above a run a ball. Odoyo needs someone to replace Martin Suji as his opening partner. Ongondo was the best of the bowlers yesterday, but wasn't able to restrict the opposition in the same way Suji can, which often lead to Odoyo taking a wicket. Luseno is fast. Let's hope he is aslo accurate, and can remove the openers. A couple of early wickets, and 285 should be perfectly defendable.

Today's NPCA fixtures

Today's NPCA matches will have a slightly different feel to them, as the teams will be without the cream of their players who are doing National service in Zimbabwe. Here are the fixtures:

Group A:
S C L Y L vs Parklands S C Ndovus at Pindolia Academy.
Kanbis 'B' vs Oshwal XI at Eastleigh.
Simba Union vs Kanbis 'A' at Simba Union.

Group B:
Ngara vs Sir Ali 'A' at Ngara.
Ruaraka vs Premier Club at Ruaraka.
Swamibapa 'A' vs Parklands S C Rhinos at Premier Club.

Group C:
Sir Ali 'B' vs Qutbis at Sir Ali.
Kongonis vs Swamibapa 'B' at Nbi Club.
Nbi Jaffery vs Khrishna XI at Nbi Jafferys.

Group D:
Nbi Institute vs Golden XI at Nbi Institute.
Stray Lions vs Nbi Nookers at Nbi School.
Aga Khan S C vs Nbi Gymkhana at Aga Khan.

With the wobbles shown by the Kenya team against Zimbabwe yesterday, some of those in action today who just missed out on a place on tour, will be hoping to catch the selectors' eye. It should make for some good cricket.

Zimbabwe Stroll To Victory

I wish that I didn't have to report on this, that I could hide my head in the sand, and it would all go away, but were comprehensively thumped to the tune of 8 wickets by Zimbabwe yesterday. Kenya won the toss, but that was about as good as it got for us. There were some bright points with the bat. Both Kennedy Otieno and Thomas Odoyo scored half centuries. Kennedy at a strike rate of 66%, Odoyo, quicker at a run a ball. Other than that, it was a desultory batting effort. Tony Suji did get a start, but 25 off 54 shows why he should not be batting at three. Steve Tikolo looked like he could dominate, then fell to Utseya for 23 off 26. Kamande made a brief cameo at the end of the innings, but it was too little too late, and Kenya limped to 227. Kenya's other batsmen failed entirely.
In reply, Zimbabwe never really looked in any doubt. From the first over, Rinke went after the bowlers, and even when he perished to Ongondo for 42, things didn't improve. It is worrying for Kenya that Zimbabwe strolled to the target with 7 overs still left to play, and only one wicket falling to a bowler (the other was Duffin, run out by a Nehemiah Ngoche direct hit). This is definitely something that Kenya need to address today if they are going to have a chance of levelling this series, or even competing against other teams at this level.

While the performance on the pitch left something to be desired, the team selection was mind boggling. Tony Suji is an ok batsman down the order, but he is not good enough to come in at three. Why was he used here, and not Mishra, who is in the team as a batsman, and familiar with batting up the order? That said, Mishra was run out for only 4, but I am a little more prepared to forgive those on debut.
Elsewhere I have defended Brijal Patel's inclusion in the side, but he has to perform to his potential or give way to someone who can. Next match, I would like to see him replaced by his younger namesake, Kalpesh Patel. To have Kamande and Brijal in the same starting line up was to me a strange decision. Likewise Ababu and Ongondo. While the latter was probably the pick of the bowling - he was the only one to take a wicket, and was one of the few who went for less than 5 an over, Ababu was expensive, and failed to get a wicket. For him to justify his place in the side, he needs to be taking wickets, and keeping the run rate down. I was surprised to see him start in place of Alfred Luseno who has been touted as a genuine strike bowler. If anything is clear from this game it is that we need someone who can knock the batsmen over. We will only win matches if we can take wickets.

Having had that little rant, all is not lost. It is a 5 match series, and we can recover. There were some good signs for Kenya with the bat. Otieno and Odoyo need to keep up their form, and Steve Tikolo needs to dominate, as we know he can. Bouncing back today will be hard - Kenya were tired yesterday after all the travel, but it is possible, and can be done. Players need to play to their potential, and the youngsters, especially Luseno, need to be given their chance.
Hopefully the team will be reshuffled to something like this:
1. Kennedy Otieno Obuya. 2. Maurice Ouma. 3. Tanmay Mishra. 4. Steve Tikolo. 5. Thomas Odoyo. 6. David Obuya. 7. Kalpesh Patel. 8. Jimmy Kamande. 9. Peter Ongondo. 10. Nehemiah Ngoche. 11. Alfred Luseno.