Kenya v Canada, Intercontinental Cup, Nairobi, 1st day October 12, 2007

Kamande's heroics not enough for Kenya

Cricinfo staff

Kenya 8 for 1 trail Canada 263 (Dhaniram 78, Bhatti 57, Kamande 4-56) by 255 runs

Jimmy Kamande; four wickets in ten balls, a run out ... and all while recovering from a carjacking © Getty Images
Clichéd it might be, but the opening day of Kenya's Intercontinental Cup tie against Canada at Nairobi Gymkhana was a see-saw affair. After a wretched middle-order collapse which left them 121 for 6, Canada recovered magnificently to close right back in the match.

That Kenya were not in complete control was thanks to a seventh-wicket stand of 99 between Sunil Dhaniram and Umar Bhatti. Neither are slouches with the bat, but with Dhaniram attacking and Bhatti more cautious, they checked the Kenyans and then staged a solid recovery.

On an overcast morning and with some dampness from overnight rain, Canada batted and made a good start, Abdul Jabbar breezily racing to 49 on his debut with some sumptuous drives in an opening stand of 68. Inexperience then got the better of him, and he perished trying to bring up his fifty by hitting offspinner Jimmy Kamnade over long-off.

What followed was a complete collapse as Kamnade took 4 for 0 in ten balls. David Obuya held two catches close in front of the bat, while Mohammad Iqbal, who had been Jabbar's subdued partner, drove tamely to mid-on. Kamande then ran out Ashif Mulla for good measure. This was all the more remarkable as Kamande was recovering from a head injury sustained when he was attacked by carjackers on Thursday night.

At the other end, Hiren Varaiya was struggling, Qaiser Ali hitting him for three fours in eight balls, but Ali then opened up once too often and snicked high to point. to leave Canada on 121 for 6. Dhaniram had already started the counter-attack, picking Kamande off through the leg side. Bhatti had moments of luck, edging Thomas Odoyo perilously close to second slip and then top-edging Alfred Luseno over the keeper, but he also played some cracking square cuts.

Kenya persevered with spin, strangling the partnership, and the pressure finally told when Dhaniram pulled Varaiya to mid-on. The slow men kept things tight - eight runs came from ten overs - but it was the return of the quicks that polished off the tail, the last three wickets falling in 14 balls.

Kenya faced a tough 25 minutes and lost Maurice Ouma to the first ball. Ouma was criticised for his performances with the bat in South Africa, and his error of judgement here will hardly have mollified the selectors. But Canada's pace attack missed a trick, opting to bombard nightwatchman Varaiya with bouncers rather than aim at his stumps. He ducked a few, took one in the ribs, and survived until the close.

The last time they were here Canada struggled to acclimatise to the conditions and took several games to find their feet. Today, they found them inside two sessions.