Obanda leads Kenyan rout of Canada
Kenya 141 for (Obanda 79, Tikolo 50) beat Canada 138 for 9 (Bagai 36, Odhiambo 3-16) by nine wickets
Alex Obanda butchered 79 from 48 balls to lead Kenya to a resounding victory over Canada in the World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Dubai.
Following their disappointing defeat to minnows UAE in their opening game, where their conservative approach strangled hopes of chasing 165, Kenya came out firing in pursuit of a modest total from Canada. Obanda dominated a 126-run opening stand with Steve Tikolo, which came from only 76 balls.
The pair were severe on the generous serving of short balls dished up from the Canada bowlers, who were clearly wilting in the heat of the Kenyan attack. From the first over Obanda unfurled an array of rasping cuts and pulls, taking 13 off Umar Bhatti's opening over, as he raced to his fifty from just 23 balls.
The pair reached 64 inside the five overs and, while Tikolo didn't get much of the strike, he was no less aggressive when he did. His 50, from 36 balls, included five fours and a six, enough to reminded everyone that, even at the age of 38, he remains one of the most gifted batsmen outside Test cricket.
It made made a mockery of the target Canada scrapped together earlier in the day. They were inserted by Maurice Ouma and lost John Davidson in the first over of the game, bowled by Hiren Varaiya for a duck. Rizwan Cheema, the Canada captain, opening with Davidson tried to arrest the early momentum with a couple of big shots, but things didn't improve for his side as Hiral Patel fell for four in the fifth over, pulling a short ball from Jimmy Kamande straight to Tikolo at square leg.
The bulk of the runs came through contributions from Cheema (32), Geoff Barnett (30) and a run-a-ball 36 from Ashish Bagai. Despite these useful starts, none of the batsmen could get away. Kamande's nagging offspinners choked the middle order and his dismissal of Cheema, with a doosra, was one to remember. The batsman had no clue as it spun away from him and clipped the edge through the wicketkeeper Ouma.
Medium-pacer Nehemiah Odhiambo, who was the pick of the bowlers in Kenya's opening match, was again in the wickets today, as he bowled a devastating 'death' over of yorkers to collect three wickets and give away just four runs.
It set the momentum which Obanda and Tikolo lifted to another level to revive Kenya's hopes of progressing in the tournament.
Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo