Monday, December 21, 2009

Kenya end year on a high

a markedly improved batting performance by Kenya in their final ODI v Uganda saw the team cruise to a massive 199 run victory to complete a 3-0 series whitewash and end the year on a high.

Maurice Ouma (72) and Seren Waters (55) opened the batting and gave Kenya an opening stand of 118 before Waters was finally trapped lbw by Henry Seyondo. Ouma then teamed up with Alex Obanda and the pair continued to attack the bowlers marching the score to 175. Obanda followed 20 runs later for a well made 57 with 10 overs to go but the platform had already been set.

David Obuya (23 off 18) and Rakep Patel (right) had both been moved down the order and responded in explosive fashion. Patel was particularly impressive smashing 71 off just 29 deliveries including 3 fours and 8 sixes! Run-a-ball cameo contributions from Nehemiah Odhiambo, Tony Suji and Elijah Otieno helped Kenya set 329/6 by the end of their 50 overs and with the bowlers so far in great form, the match already looked half won.

The first ball of Uganda's reply compounded matters for them as their best batsman of the tournament so far, Roger Mukasa, edged Odhiambo for Ouma to take the catch and give Kenya the best possible start to their defence. Akbar Baig (23) and Frank Nsubuga (43) added 75 for the second wicket taking a particular liking to Otieno, but the introduction of James Ngoche soon had both players back in the pavilion and Kenya once again looking strong.

Wickets then began to fall at regular intervals with only Benjamin Musoke (18) and Jonathan Sebanja (11) able to make it into double figures as the Kenyan bowlers continued their dominance. Hiren Varaiya (3/18 off 10) and James Ngoche (3/27 off 10) finished with the best figures, but Nehemiah Odhiambo (2/23) and Nelson Odhiambo (2/15) also contributed to an emphatic victory.

Having won the series 3-0 and with 2 huge margins in the first and last games, Kenya will feel that they have atoned for the 2-0 loss in the 20-20s. Work still remains to be done on the shorter format of the game, that is clear, but at least at ODI level, there is still some breathing space between them and their fast improving neighbour. Unless the development work by Cricket Kenya kicks up a further gear in 2010, the question will still remain for how much longer?

What is extremely positive from this series is to see the bulk of the youngsters in the team standing up and performing. Lucas Oluoch was impressive in both games he played and Rakep Patel continues to gain in confidence. Shem Obado and James Otieno Ngoche both took wickets and Nelson Odhiambo also showed an inkling of what he may be able to achieve. When he took over, coach Eldine Baptise warned the established players that there would be no sacred cows in the team, with the performances of the youngsters this series, there is certainly genuine debate now over several places in the squad and this competition can only lead to a stronger side. Questions still remain over some of the batting, but on the whole the future is beginning to look much brighter than it was a year ago.

Kenya 329/6 (Ouma 72, Patel 71, Obanda 57, Waters 55, Waiswa 2/58)
Uganda 130 (Nsubuga 43, Baig 28, Varaiya 3/18, J Otieno 3/27, Nel Odhiambo 2/15, Neh Odhiambo 2/23)
by 199 runs

Kenya win series 3-0

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