Saturday, July 04, 2009

Tikolo leads Kenyan fightback after Irish Onslaught

Steve Tikolo (right) the ex-Skipper and veteran of Kenya's team yesterday proved once again his value to the team as he helped Kenya recover from what seemed like a disasterous start to his successor's first game in charge. Losing the toss, Kenya were asked to bowl and though Peter Ongondo was his usual miserly self, Kenya's seamers simply were unable to induce the Irish openers Paul Stirling and Jeremy Bray to play enough to look dangerous. Content to wait for the bad balls, the pair put on a mammoth 182 before Bray (89) finally edged a Nehemiah Odhiambo delivery to Tikolo to give Kenya a glimmer of hope. Earlier, both the 18 year old Stirling and Bray had both brought up fine 50s as they set about building what looked to be the platform for a huge first innings total.

With tea taken for 197-1, it was definitely the Irish in the ascendency and the hosts continued to pile on the pressure with Stirling bringing up his maiden First Class century with a six of Ongondo. It was the Kenyan seamer who had the final say of the contest however as four balls later he induced the nick from Stirling for Ouma to pouch his first catch as skipper. Alex Cusack and Andre Botha added a further 46 runs before Tikolo started a run that could just have brought Kenya back into the contest.

Botha was the first to fall finding Seren Waters at midwicket and Kevin O'Brien followed first ball giving Tikolo a return catch. Andrew White was the next to depart in the most unusual of circumstances as the ball rebounded of the short leg fielder for Ouma to complete the catch. Tikolo then bowled Gary Wilson with the score on 313 and then to complete his 5-for had the dangerman Cusack popping one up for Collins Obuya to catch at short leg in the final over of play. Ireland closed the day on 323-7 with the game still up for grabs. Given the score at tea, Kenya will be very happy with how their final two sessions went and will be looking to mop up the Irish tail quickly today so they can take their turn at the crease. After their comeback yesterday, it is vital that they do this to return the pressure to Ireland.

Tikolo's figures of 5-67 are particularly impressive and give him yet another career best. There must be concern though that the 20 overs he bowled may take a toll on the 38 year old's batting.
Kenya have selceted a deep batting line up and they will need to apply themselves in the same manner as the Irish openers if they are going to reap any rewards from the first innings. Having had little competetive practice, the top order especially will need to be at their most vigilant to keep out the Irish attack. If they can do so and if the bowlers complete their job this morning, then there could yet be light at the end of the tunnel for Kenya.

picture taken WCL 2007 copyright Kenya cricket.com

1 comment:

Amar said...

It was going to be a battle between Paul Stirling V/S Seren Waters, Stirling got that 100. Now Waters got to fire.