Thursday, March 22, 2007

A poor way to lose

Again, there is a match report on CricketEurope Kenya, so I won't repeat myself (scorecard), but there are some areas that were of real concern for Kenya in the loss to New Zealand.
Some of these were things that are to be expected when an Associate team plays a Full member, but there were several where we were our own worst enemy. For Kenya to beat a Test team, we need them to play below themselves and we need to play above ourselves. Unfortunately, against New Zealand, the opposite happened. The Kiwis were on fire and we were ordinary.
In the fielding, a discipline that Kenya are normally strong in, there was a definite slackness. Several misfields allowed extra runs to be taken and catches were put down as well. True, they were not all easy, but in international cricket if a player gets his hand to a ball in the air, it is deemed a chance. The adage 'catches win matches' did not spring up for no reason and had they been held, New Zealand would have scored considerably less runs.
Our bowlers, who had been so sharp and accurate against Canada, found it difficult to keep to a line and length that troubled the opposition. Thomas Odoyo is perhaps the exception here, especially his first spell which had the opposition openers in no small trouble. On the whole though, New Zealand's job was made easier by bowling that strayed off the line and often pitched too short allowing the big pull shots. New Zealand hit 12 sixes of which at least half would not have been possible had the bowling been a fuller length. Bowling short to Test quality batsmen who are used to facing real express bowlers is asking for trouble. Kenya's strengths in bowling are the accuracy of our bowlers, not our speed and we need to play to those strengths. If we can get it right, and we showed we can against Canada and if the fielders back it up as again we have seen them do before, there is no reason we cannot frustrate the opposition into mistakes.
Extras are another thing we have to cut out. The bowler's must keep their front foot behind the line and have to refrain from sprays down leg. Ouma behind the stumps also needs to brush up on his glove work, but to be fair, should not have to expect the ball in that area. 26 wides and no balls is simply way too many against any side, and a Full member is going to tear you apart if you give them that many free runs. Not to mention the extra balls new Zealand got to face.
Batting also was a worry. Not so much how we handled the extra pace - that is something only experience can help with, but how we ran between the wickets and gave them away. Maurice Ouma's stroll down the wicket for an easy single was plain and simply, lazy cricket. From a school level one of the things a cricketer is taught is to run the first single hard. It doesn't matter if there seems to be plenty of time or not. Firstly, there is always the possibility of a second if there is a fumble, but more importantly, while you are out of your crease, you are in danger. At international level, there are so many top fielder who can throw down the stumps from almost anywhere on the park, it is criminal to give them that chance unless it is in the dying overs and quick singles are at a premium.
Collins Obuya's run out was again poor cricket. Running as a pair requires communication and calling between the batsmen. This did not happen, and a partnership that looked as though it could be quite fruitful came to a needless end. Lameck Onyango was found guilty by the same method as Ouma, and several others were nearly caught out this way as well. At the top level, batsmen need to be as sharp as the fielder, otherwise they will be run out. Chasing a large total against better bowling was always going to be hard. Losing unnecessary wickets made it an impossibility. This must be sorted out before Saturday and England.
Tirade over, there were some bright spots. Odoyo bowled well for the most part and should be congratulated on his 100th ODI wicket. He is now the first player outside the Test teams to have 100 wickets and 1500 runs. Tanmay Mishra fielded well as usual. He did drop the one catch, but it would have been a blinder had he held it, and on the whole looked sharp. Collins Obuya's attitude both fielding and batting was aggressive and we need that if we are to cause an upset. Ravindu shah rode his kuck a bit, but that is what cricket is about, and he played some fantastic shots for his second highest score in ODIs - he also passed the mini-milestone of 1500 runs. If the rest of the batsmen can build around him, there is the possibility of a decent score against any team.
all in all, it was a disappointing performance, but as Steve Tikolo himself acknowledges, the team know they can do better. Do they have a chance of an upset against England? It depends which Kenya turn up on the day. If it is the team that played Canada, I believe we could give anyone trouble. If it the team that played New Zealand, we would struggle against the Associates even. Let's hope the yips are out of the way and it the team play to their potential.


Wes said...

I think Kenya have a real chance against England. To me England were not so convincing against Canada and so if they play like that against Kenya, then Kenya could have a chance to reach the Super 8 stage.

Anonymous said...

England vs Kenya:

Shah gave up his wicket cheap... a pity since he showed some of his old form vs NZ. We needed more from him in the England match!

Obuya & Tikolo: What a mix-up & another wicket that was given up for naught. I wonder if Kenya can make it to 200...

Sigh... Kenya lucked out with 43 overs since the fall of wickets would not allow us to get to 50 overs.

Only hope is Tikolo batting some great runs & if Kenya fields well during England's innings.

Anonymous said...

Tikolo... is out! So no 100 for him... there was a slim chance but oh, well, now 8 wickets gone...

Commendable performance from Tikolo.

Not much hope for 200 runs... Kenya will benefit from some rain that could cancel more overs since the wickets are going down fast...

Anyway, let's see how many more runs before all are out OR the overs are completed!

Kenya needs to bowl & field tight to win... a draw means England is thru to the Super 8s...

Asif Karim will be missed! His bowling against Australia in 2003 was a masterpiece!

Hossain said...

Just saw in the cricinfo that Tikolo is asking for matches before twenty20 world cup. Nick, may be you can advise Cricket Kenya to invite Bangladesh team over in August for a short prep tour.

Anonymous said...

Kenya should play against zimbabwe and win aginst them with no lose.Then play against Bangladesh, those win will boost their performance which will be good to fight against speen trio of Bangladesh---javiar