Thursday, October 08, 2009

All to play for after day 1

Half centuries from Steve Tikolo (61) and Alex Obanda (51) along with numerous starts from other players have helped Kenya to a total of 327/9 on day 1 of their Intercontinental Cup match against the Zimbabwe XI. Losing the toss and having been put into bat, Kenya lost the early wicket of Rakep Patel who was promoted to opener in the absence of Seren Waters (14/1).

Collins Obuya (21) then joined brother David (37) for a profitable 71 run partnership that was ended when David was trapped lbw by Timycen Maruma (85/2). Collins followed shortly after when he was run out to bring Zimbabwe back into the game at 91/3. His departure brought together the old and new skippers, Steve Tikolo (Pictured right on his way to a century against canada earlier this year) and Maurice Ouma and the two steadied the ship before beginning to threaten to take the game away from the Zimbabweans with a 108 run partnership, but once again, Kenya lost 2 quick wickets in succession as first Ouma was out bowled by Chibhabha for 38 (197/4) and then Tikolo followed shortly after caught by opposition captain, Sibanda also off Chibhabha's medium pace (211/5).

Though Alex Obanda (51) combined with first Jimmy Kamande (9) in a 31 run partnership and with Thomas Odoyo (14) for another one of 40 runs, wickets again fell one after the other to allow Zimbabwe to claw their way back into the game. Rageb Aga (9) was the final wicket to fall for Kenya as a late flurry from Nehemiah Odhiambo (21* off 20 balls) allowed Kenya to finish the day on 327/9, Hiren Varaiya (6*) the other batsman remaining at the crease.

Having been put into bat, Kenya will probably be fairly happy with where they sit, though after the partnership from Tikolo and Ouma they would have been targeting a score around 400 rather than low 300s. Both remaining batsmen can however stick around and if Odhiambo can continue his form with the bat on day 2, a score of 350 could be just enough for Kenya to defend first innings points if they bowl well.

It will be an interesting test for the Kenyan attack which will be without stalwart Peter Ongono who was left out for Aga. Kenyan fans and selectors alike will be hoping this was the right decision and that the seam combination of Odoyo, Odhiambo and Aga makes enough inroads for the spinners to do their work later. It should be a fascinating day's cricket.

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