September 29, 2000

Bangladesh warmup for ICC KnockOut beating rivals Kenya

Bangladesh had its first success after being granted Test status when they beat their "former" arch rivals Kenya by 34 runs in a limited over game at the Mombasa Sports Ground to prepare for upcoming ICC KnockOut tournament.

Batting first, the Bangladesh top order, missing the services of Mehrab and Shahriar Hossain, collapsed to 57/3 against Kenya. However, the experienced duo of former skippers Akram Khan and Aminul Islam came to the rescue. Akram was in his usual explosive mood, smashing 56 off 60 deliveries while Aminul's apparently sedate 48 off 96 was in fact instrumental in holding the innings together. Newly selected captain, Naimur Rahman along with the new vice captain, wicket keeper Khaled Mashud, pushed the accelerator towards the end with aggressive knocks of 24 and 35 respectively. Despite a late collapse, Bangladesh managed 249/9 in their 50 overs, a considerably challenging total. For Kenya, Thomas Odoyo was the best of the bowlers with 3/48, while Martin Suji and Mohammad Sheikh took two wickets apiece.

Kenya started off pretty positively, with a 46 run opening stand before Otieno the lesser contributor was caught by Enamul Haq off Hasibul Hossain for 9. Hasibul struck again, but this time a much bigger blow, when he got Kenya's best player Stephen Tikolo to edge one to Mashud. Kenya's innings suffered another major setback when another one of their heroes Maurice Odumbe was bowled by rookie medium pacer Bikash Ranjan Das.

Shah cracked 48 off 46 deliveries before becoming Bikash Ranjan's second victim. Deliveries later, Monjurul had Odoyo removed and Kenya seemed to be headed for a humiliating defeat, with five wickets down for just 83 runs. Hitesh Modi and Tony Suji prevented such a disaster for the hosts of this year's ICC "mini world cup", with 28 and 32 respectively. But then left arm spinner Enamul Haq, knocked out the lower order of Kenya's line up and even Tony Suji's late heroics with 32 could not save the day for Kenya, as they dissipated their allotted overs with 212 on the board losing nine wickets. Enamul was extremely miserly as well as dangerous in his spell with 3/24 off ten overs. Hasibul and Bikash took two wickets each, while Manjurul and skipper Naimur shared the other two wickets. All the bowlers were very economical, with the exception of Hasibul (2/44) none of the others conceded 40 or more runs in their ten overs.

Although this match did not have ODI status, it was very important for Bangladesh to beat Kenya, after losing to them in their last three encounters. Had Bangladesh lost this match, it would have added fuel to the fire of the already going on debate over Bangladesh's unpreparedness for Test status. However, to prove thier critics wrong, Bangladesh still have to put up commendable if not triumphant (which is highly unlikely) performances, at the ICC KnockOut match against England and of course the inaugural test against India later this year.