Friday, December 18, 2009

Kenya turn tables on Uganda

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.

1 comment:

Tsr said...

Great site Nick, thanks for providing us a site to air our views and catch up on Kenyan Cricket - I know many people don't take the time to thank you, and in general to thank those who take the time to provide a service for the rest of us to use, like you have.
As to my opinion of the state of Kenyan cricket at the moment, I think traditionally Kenya has been strong in the 50 over format, so I am not surprised that they won this game easily. Along the same lines I think that on occasion Kenya tend to take traditionally weak teams like Uganda for granted and tend to get whacked because they don't prepare for them adequately (or properly to put it another way) - they are mentally lazy to put it from another point of view - I hope they don't take this in a negative way but rather as an insight that can help them win the easy matches that they tend to lose. So because they assume that Uganda is a weaker team they assume that they will automatically win without playing very hard and so the end result is they lose on more occasions than one - Uganda is a very athletic team and they can beat you on their athleticism alone, in fact I think that Ugandans may be a little more athletic than Kenyans in certain sports, Cricket being one of them. So even though Ugandans may not be as good technically and we may have much more experience, Ugandans will compete athletically and being the intelligent human beings they are they will find a way to win if you take them lightly. I would argue that this is the same problem that Kenya has against teams like Ireland too - i.e., we assume that since we have a lot more top quality ODI experience against the leading teams that somehow we should automatically win. So without each player doing as much research on each Irish player as possible we just rely on what the coach tells us and even then we don't entirely believe it (if our coach tells us the Irish players are really good). Training hard physically is not good enough alone, you have train the mind too, as you may well know.
As far as T20 goes I don't think we have the mentality for it yet, and I worry it may take a while to get there.
For the Test match format I believe we have the will and the time but we just don't have the depth and resources and the majority of the population will not understand it (or it's purpose) and so the level of interest and depth of players will always be small at least for some time into the future - I may be very wrong in this last part (i.e., more wrong than the other comments) but nonetheless that is my gut feeling.
What do you guys think? You could write an article on it if you like - or edit my comments and post them if you like it.