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March 17, 2006
Bangladesh 301 for 7 (Nafees 91, Aftab Ahmed 62, Mortaza 44*) beat Kenya 170 (Mishra 43, Rasel 3-31) by 131 runs
Where Bangladesh have markedly improved of late, Kenya have hardly played. Four matches against a dismal Zimbabwe side has been their only one-day exposure in a year and a half. The gulf in experience was all too evident.
The game was done and dusted by the halfway point. Bangladesh won the toss and batted on an easy-paced pitch - helmets were soon discarded - and in front of a disappointing crowd they were rarely troubled by a far from threatening Kenyan attack.
Javed Omar and Shahriar Nafees posted a solid rather than spectacular 92 for the first wicket before Omar fell to a controversial third-umpire decision - there was considerable doubt whether the ball carried to Steve Tikolo. His departure benefited Bangladesh as Aftab Ahmed accelerated the innings with 62 off 69 balls. Nafees departed for a resolute 91 off 112 balls, but the real fireworks came late on when Mashrafe Mortaza launched a remarkable onslaught as the final two overs produced 38 runs. He struck five fours and three sixes in a 16-ball 44 not out to end the match as a contest. Only Thomas Odoyo, who was Man of the Series on the recent tour of Zimbabwe, appeared able to contain, and even he was savaged at the death.
A target of 302, Bangladesh's first post-300 total in an ODI, was always beyond a Kenyan batting line-up which had proved frail in Zimbabwe. They needed big scores from the classy Tikolo and the in-form Kennedy Otieno. But both fell cheaply in a three-wicket opening spell from Syed Rasel, and at 48 for 4 the crowd was celebrating victory.
Tony Suji restored a little face with 33 which at least enabled Kenya to scrape into three figures, and took them out of the list of the ten heaviest ODI defeats. The last quarter of a woefully one-sided contest was of interest only to the statisticians, although it gave Tanmay Mishra, an 18-year-old of real potential, some time in the middle. Bangladesh took their foot off the gas when they would have been better advised to go for the kill.
The whole day had a slightly surreal feel. Collins Obuya was named in the Kenyan starting XI but was replaced after one over of the match, while Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh's captain who was down to bat at No. 3, slipped quietly down the order and never made it to the middle. Perhaps he was saving himself for tougher opposition next month?
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