April 8, 2003

Pakistan complete rude awakening for Kenya

Raja M

After Shoaib Malik savaged the bowlers with a 58-ball 76, Pakistan defended 286 with ridiculous ease, bundling Kenya out for exactly half the total they had made earlier. The last five Kenyan wickets tumbled for just six runs, with the fiery Mohammad Sami the main demolition man with 4 for 25.

Kenya were never in the hunt, despite a brave 54 from Maurice Odumbe. With five down for 129 at the halfway stage of their innings, it was all over bar the shouting.

Kenya had started their chase with a comical run-out that left David Obuya stranded at his brother Kennedy's end. Yousuf Youhana completed the run-out after a fumble, not dislodging the bails with his first attempt (17 for 1).

It set the tone for a collapse to 31 for 4. Brijal Patel was bowled first ball by a Sami thunderbolt. Then Steve Tikolo (7) succumbed to nerves, his over-optimistic hook off Sami giving Rashid Latif an easy catch behind the stumps. Kennedy Obuya (9) joined the procession one over later, gloving Naved-ul-Hasan to Latif. All concerned looked forward to an early night.

But such thoughts were a little premature. Thomas Odoyo and Odumbe counter-attacked, with Odumbe smashing Umar Gul for four superb boundaries in his first over. They put on 53 in 39 balls before Odoyo (22) was run out by Sami's brilliant direct hit at the non-striker's end with a one-bounce throw from square leg (84 for 5).

Odumbe and Hitesh Modi continued the resistance, before Odumbe finally went with the score at 137 for 6. Then the wheels really did fall off, and the match skeetered to an end in less than three overs, with Sami and Gul polishing off the tail.

Earlier on Pakistan's lower order did the job with the bat too. They plundered 106 runs in the last 10 overs, after the top half managed only 150 once Latif opted to take strike in search of some batting practice. After holding Pakistan for most of the innings, Kenya wilted in the field under the late onslaught, dropping catches, conceding overthrows and bowling wildly.

Malik and Latif (38) boosted the momentum with a stand of 72 in just 10.2 overs. Earlier, Misbah-ul-Haq (42) looked the batsman most likely to play the long innings, after Mohammad Hafeez (36) and Faisal Iqbal (23) wasted their good starts.

But Misbah's promising outing ended controversially when Patel caught him on the long-on fence. The umpire, India's AV Jayaprakash, preferred to take Patel's word that his boot did not touch the rope, and did not ask the third umpire, another update in the ongoing Trust Humans v Trust Technology debate.

That curious decision, and Jimmy Kamande's cartwheels across the pitch to celebrate wickets, were about the only highlights before Malik's onslaught. But what seemed to be a dream start for Kenya - Pakistan made just 27 in their first ten overs - later dissolved into a terrible nightmare.

It meant both teams finished the group stage with 100% records - Pakistan three wins, and Kenya three defeats, a sobering return to earth for the World Cup semi-finalists. Today's game was purely academic: even before it started Pakistan knew they would be facing Zimbabwe in Thursday's final, which will be the 2000th one-day international.