Friday, December 18, 2009
Kenya yesterday displayed the dominance that was so badly lacking against the Ugandans during the 20-20 series. They not only won the first ODI but did so in emphatic fashion - first by bowling Uganda out for a mere 104 (which took 44 overs to accumulate) and then knocking off the required runs in well under 20 overs for the loss of just one wicket.
Kenya won the toss and Alfred Luseno and Lucas Oluoch (pictured right in the nets in 2008) opened the bowling giving the Ugandans a torrid time. Luseno proved virtually unplayable with the batsmen only able to score 7 runs off his 7 overs. While he did not pick up any wickets himself, good seamers hunt in pairs and the pressure certainly paid off at the other end as debutante Oluoch took the first three wickets to have Uganda reeling at 3/24 after 14 overs to finish with figures of 3/23. A fine effort for his first 50 over game in Kenyan colours.
Kenya have recently had a history of allowing teams off the hook, but yesterday was different as first Nehemiah Odhiambo (1/10 off 6) then Jimmy Kamande (1/24 off 7) and Hiren Varaiya (1/9 off 8) continued to apply the pressure. Where Oluoch had announced himself at the beginning of the innings, it was another debutante - Shem Obado who finished off the innings taking 3/10 including the wicket of Benjamin Musoke (27), the only Ugandan able to get some sort of a start.
All in all it was a fantastic effort by the bowlers and one that certainly lends support to coach Eldine Baptiste's desire to include the youngsters in the squad. Unlike the 20-20s, Kenya's batsmen were able to back up the bowlers and bar an early scare when Charles Waiswa had David Obuya trapped in front for a duck, they put the bowlers to the sword. Rakep Patel (57* off 59) moved up to open with Obuya and so narrowly beat Maurice Ouma (44* off 41) to his half century.
Kenya went on to win the match in just 17.2 overs with a score of 105/9. This is strangely one run higher than their best effort in the 20-20s, yet came from fewer overs faced. Why they were able to produce the application for this in the ODI yet fail to do so in the 20-20 is surely food for serious thought for the coach before the World Cup qualifiers in the New Year.
All in all though this was as good a performance as Kenya have produced in some time and they can go into the remaining games of the series once more confident in their ability. Fans will be hoping however that confidence does not too soon become complacency.