January 23, 2000

Kenya finally wins a game

They have had a tough time on this tour but Kenya has finally won a game. In an all- African clash they defeated Namibia by 54 runs at the BOI ground in Negombo. It wasn't all plain sailing though for the Kenyans, who had let the Namibians back into the game after reducing them to 74-6.

Kenya who batted first after their captain, Muhamad Sheikh, won the toss for only the second time in this tournament, were all out for 220 and then bowled out the Namibian's for 166.

Despite scoring their highest score of the tournament, the Kenyans will have still been disappointed with the score. A good batting pitch, a fast outfield and some pretty ordinary bowling by the Namibians should have resulted n a final total in excess of 250. However, as they have throughout the tournament, some of the main batsmen were guilty of throwing their wickets away cheaply.

Anitkumar Bhudia (30) started the innings well for the Kenyans and in partnership with Shiekh (26) had taken the score to 64-1. When Sheikh then threw his prized wicket away with a lazy drive at a wide ball from Ludick Kenya began a now familiar collapse.

Reduced to 106-5 it looked as if the Kenyan's were in for another depressing day. However Collins Omondi (42) and the young Maurice Ouma (44) rescued the innings with some sensible batting. Although guilty of not putting all the bad balls away they both milked the spinners well in a stand of 91. When they were dismissed the Kenyan innings went into a spectacular free-fall and were bowled out for 220.

In reply the Namibians started confidently and appeared to be relatively untroubled by the Kenyan bowlers. However the replacement of Vijay Kalyan with the medium pace of Bhudia in the seventh over got Kenya the breakthrough, albeit in a rather unexpected way with total confusion breaking down into a victorious sprint by Bhudia to the vacant batsmen's end. Swanepoel (12) immediately followed his opening partner when he was caught behind off the same bowler.

In direct contrast to the indifferent body language that the Kenyans that have displayed throughout most of this tournament, they were now buzzing. Sensing victory, they vocally goaded one another on. Every good delivery was greeted with excited clapping and shouts of encouragement as Namibia collapsed to 74-6.

However the Kenyans relaxed and expected the Namibians to give in meekly. They had underestimated the talents of Pieter Burger (69). A tall batsman, who strokes the ball in a relaxed fashion and with good balance, played himself in and then started to attack the Kenyan bowling.

The fielders became very quiet as Burger carried his team to within 60 runs of the Kenyan total. A good piece of fielding on the third man boundary by Halai dismissed his partner, Tobie Verwey (14).

The dismissal marked the end for the Namibian's as the final four wickets fell for just five runs.

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