Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kenya improve with win in second warm up game

A much better batting performance coupled with some more disciplined bowling has given Kenya a morale boosting win over the Tuks Academy in a warm up match played the LC De Villiers Oval in Pretoria.

Batting first, Kenya posted an imposing total of 253 for 6 in their 50 overs on the back of a century partnership between Thomas Odoyo (70) and Collins Obuya (47 n.o.). Kennedy Obuya (45) and Seren Waters (33), earlier added a partnership of 77 and despite a minor wobble when they lost both Tikolo (22) and waters with the score on 125, this was a much improved effort from the Kenyans who will take heart in the fact that several players seem to be finding form just when it will be needed.

Once again, Hiren Varaiya was the pick of Kenya's bowling picking up 3/34 off his 10 overs, but Jimmy Kamande and Lameck Onyango will both be pleased to have picked up a brace each, though Onyango did go at 6 an over. Both Peter Ongondo and Odoyo took a wicket each and were given relatively easy 6 over duties. It was the combination of Variaya and Kamande who broke Tuks with a 10 over spell that conceded 51 runs, but accounted for 5 wickets. They never recovered and Onyango and Odoyo polished off the remaining wickets to give Kenya an 64 run win.

After Nehemiah Odhiambo and Rajesh Bhudia were so expensive in the last game, it will be interesting to see if the selectors remain with the change pair of Onyango and Elijah Otieno, who though remained wicket-less, has so far proved to be the only one of the four to maintain an acceptable economy rate (23 off 5 overs - 4.6).

With the much sterner test of Scotland looming on Sunday, one would assume the selectors will go with their perceived best team. Just going on the last 2 games, it is hard to see it being any different from this one, though Alex Obanda may still be due a dig in which case one would assume Waters would resume opening duties in place of Ouma.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kenya lose first warm up game

Kenya went down by 48 runs in their first warm up match against a Titans second string side in Pretoria yesterday.

Batting first, Titans lost opener R Jappie to Thomas Odoyo for just 10 on the board, but then continued to build solid partnerships with M Sekota (57), P Matan (54 off 49) and especially D Weisie (90* off 56) all taking a liking to the Kenyan bowlers.

Pick of the Kenyan bowlers was the pair of Thomas Odoyo (2/40 off 9) and Hiren Varaiya (2/49 off 9).
Jimmy Kamande (1/42 off 9)was probably next best and was the only other Kenyan bowler to take wickets with run outs accounting for Titans other 2 dismissals in their total of 292/7.
Neither Steve Tikolo (0/22 off 5) nor Peter Ongondo (0/28 off 5) took wickets, but at least they were tidy. the same cannot be said for Rajesh Bhudia (0/35 off 4) and Nehemiah Odhiambo (0/75 off 9) who both came in for some heavy treatment from their hosts. Kenyan fans will be hoping they find their radar before the World Cup qualifiers start on April 1st.

Kenya's reply contained several promising starts, but no one other than Jimmy Kamande was able to convert that into a bigger score. Morris Ouma, returned to opener, fell on 47, fellow opener Kennedy Obuya made 26 off 28, Seren Waters tried at 3 made 16, Steve Tikolo contributed 20 and Collins Obuya 38. Only Kamande, who was last man out off the final ball looked like he was capable of chasing down the score and perhaps he could have made it had he come in above Obuya. As it was he can be proud of what was clearly the stand out effort in the Kenyan side with 62 off 49 deliveries. Kenya closed their innings on 244/9.

In context, this was just a warm up game, but it certainly does nothing to dispel any of the worries fans might have had going into the WC Qualifiers where the competition should be stiffer. Hopefully this is just a case of the boys blowing the dust off before they settle down to serious business.