February 12, 2003

Kenya crushed as hosts secure first win

Herschelle Gibbs totally destroyed any chance that Kenya might have thought they had as the right-handed opener stroked South Africa to a ten-wicket victory at the North West Stadium in Potchefstroom.

Gibbs took his score from 21 off 22 balls before the lunch break to a magnificent, undefeated 87 off 66 balls as South Africa cruised past the 141 they required for victory in the 22nd over.

Gibbs was merciless on the three spinners employed by Steve Tikolo, all brought on inside the first 15 overs, helping himself to four cleanly-struck sixes and 12 fours, driven, pulled and cut past standing fielders.

Not to be outdone, Gary Kirsten helped himself to an undefeated 52 from 63 balls with nine fours. But for most of the 83 minutes of the innings he was content to let Gibbs do the bulk of the scoring as he punished anything lose.

The Kenyan innings started poorly, with three wickets lost in the first nine overs as Shaun Pollock again caused trouble for the batsmen. His first and only spell rewarded him with 2/15 in six overs, while Makahaya Ntini backed up his captain with 1/14 in his seven-over opening spell.

Lance Klusener was made Man of the Match after taking 4/16 in eight overs by continually mixing up his pace. He was involved in the run out of Ravindu Shah, who had been the sole contributor to the Kenyan innings.

The two run-outs were totally unnecessary, and some poor shot selection was the other cause of Kenya's downfall. Seven wickets went to catches, and a more conservative approach might have seen them post a more competitive total.

For South Africa it was a clinical performance, and one they can build on as they progress in the tournament.