Sunday, December 20, 2009

2-0 but Batting problems persist

Kenya yesterday went 2-0 up in their ODI series with Uganda beating them by 1 wicket at Nairobi Gymkhana.

Winning the toss, Kenya elected to field and once again the opening attack of Alfred Luseno and Lucas Oluoch were key to Kenya gaining an early upper hand. Unlike the first game however, Uganda started brightly with Roger Mukasa (27) and Akbar Baig (18) putting on a brisk 34 before Luseno got the breakthrough clean bowling Mukasa.

Three overs later Oluoch got into the act removing number 3, Lawrence Sematimba without scoring. Baig followed shortly after trapped lbw by the left-hander and Uganda were in trouble at 3/48. A brief rally followed with Fred Isabirye (15) and Benjamin Musoke (16) adding 18 for the next wicket, but the run rate was slowing and Varaiya ended the partnership trapping Isabirye in front. Luseno picked up his second 1 run later when Henry Senyondo had his house knocked over and again Uganda were in trouble: 5/67 after 18 overs.

Musoke then found support in Arthur Ziraba (20) and Uganda recovered somewhat before Varaiya bowled Musoke (6/95). Ziraba was next back to the pavilion, run out by Jimmy Kamande (7/106) and the end was looming for the visitors. Kamande was the next to strike for Kenya as Frank Nsubuga departed lbw for 3 (8/113) but Ronald Semanda (20) stuck around long enough to help Uganda to 126 before he was last man out, bowled by Nehemiah Odhiambo who two overs earlier had run out Seiga Asadu.

All of the Kenyan bowlers impressed and while their economy rates were not quite as good as in the first ODI, Kenya would have gone into the break confident of another easy victory, especially considering the batting line up looked much stronger with the addition of Seren Waters and Alex Obanda.

If they thought it was to be a walk in the park, they were sorely disappointed as Uganda refused to go down without a fight and, just as in the first match, struck early when Waters was caught by Ziraba off the bowling of Jonathan Sebanja for a duck. David Obuya remained unfazed and appeared set on erasing his poor showing in the first game by racing to 24 off just 20 deliveries, but that was where his innings ended as he fell to Baig, caught by Nsubuga (2-30).

Rakep Patel had looked unstoppable in the first ODI, but he too fell after getting a start, lbw to Seyondo for 17 (3/56). Kenya then staged one of their by now famous collapses as alex Obanda (14), Maurice Ouma (7), Jimmy Kamande (5) and Shem Obado (0) all fell in quick succession to give Uganda the hope of victory with the score at 7/77.

Nehemiah Odhiambo (25) and Hiren Varaiya (14*) stuck to their guns however and pulled Kenya back to relative safety with a 33 run partnership before Baig had Odhiambo caught and bowled with Kenya still needing 17 for victory. When Nsubuga trapped Oluoch lbw 3 overs later, Kenya were still 11 runs short and Uganda could once again scent victory. Varaiya however stood firm with last man Luseno and it was the latter that saw Kenya home with a 4 to give the home side a nail biting victory.

At the end of the day Kenya won and take the series 2-0 with a game still to play, but this match must serve once again as a warning that Uganda are not to be taken lightly and that Kenya need to apply themselves better when at the crease. No disrespect to Uganda, but a stronger team would have made Kenya pay dearly for their mistakes. The final match of the series will be played today at Nairobi Gymkhana and Kenya need to once again win big if they want to avoid questions being asked as to why a weakened Uganda side has been so competitive against a Kenyan side that certainly looks very like it could be a future full strength side.

Uganda 126 (Mukasa 26, Semanda 21, Ziraba 20, Varaiya 2/17, Oluoch 2/24, Luseno 2/29)
lose to
Kenya 129/9 (Neh Odhiambo 25, D Obuya 24, Asadu 3/25)
by 1 wicket

Kenya lead 3 match series 2-0

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