Thursday, April 02, 2009

Falling at the first hurdle

In my post yesterday I stressed the importance of Kenya winning their opening match of the World Cup Qualifiers against The Netherlands. Some lacklustre batting and poor fielding from Kenya and the brilliance of Ryan ten Doeschate meant that it was not to be and that the pressure is now well and truly on the team to bounce back.

Yesterday's match was always expected to be the toughest of the group games for Kenya, but with today's opponents, the UAE upsetting Bermuda and Afghanistan also impressing to dispose of the Danes, this group is very much open and any more slip ups will be catastrophic.

Full reports of yesterday's match can be found on the usual websites, so I will stick to a few things I noticed. One of these was that there has been an obvious drop in the standard of fielding since the departure of Roger Harper as coach. Too often pressure was released on the Dutch due to simple fielding errors that allowed dot balls to become singles or singles to become twos.

From a batting perspective, there is not the application of the batsmen once in to go on to bigger scores. Thank heavens for Jimmy Kamande fine half century and Nehemiah Odhiambo who's lusty hitting allowed Kenya to set what could have been a defendable total. All other batsmen started, then got out and at this level, this will be punished.

With the ball, it was a case of strange decisions and one too many overs for both Onyango and Odhiambo who had bowled well up until then. The extra 2 overs they bowled instead of bringing Varaiya on earlier meant that ten Doeschate and Zuiderant were more settled by the time the spinner came on and though he troubled both batsmen early, he also came in for some stick as they were already set. I was also unhapy with the reintroduction of the change bowlers later in the match when the spinners should have been given a better run.

In the end, the way the Dutch batted, it may not have effected the outcome, but it is amazing what a bit of pressure can do. There is not much time to turn things around before facing the Emirates, but hopefully Kenya will put on a better performance and bounce back. If not, the consequences for Kenyan Cricket look dire indeed.

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