Hemp bails out Bermuda
Bermuda 232 for 6 (Hemp 95*) v Kenya
Bermuda fought back from the loss of early wickets to close on 232 for 6 on the rain-affected first day of their Intercontinental Cup tie against Kenya at Nairobi Gymkhana. They had David Hemp, who finished unbeaten on 95 , to thank for bailing them out.
Bermuda, who came into the match on the back of a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series against Kenya as well as a loss to Uganda, have been fairly dreadful of late, and stuck in to bat under gray skies, they were 1 for 2 within nine balls. Jekon Edness was beaten by swing from Thomas Odoyo and in the second over Peter Ongongo found Rodney Trott's edge with one that left him.
Rain interrupted Bermuda's recovery, and after an early lunch it was a run out that removed Azeem Pitcher for 19. At 35 for 3, Bermuda were struggling. The veteran Hemp and the nearly as old but not nearly as experienced James Celestine then put on 55 for the fourth wicket. Celestine looked to dominate by aggression, lofting Alfred Luseno for six over midwicket and then unleashing some searing drives.
His end came when Steve Tikolo brought on Hiren Varaiya. Celestine didn't waste time in smashing the slow left-armer high over mid-off for four, but he tried a repeat shot off the next delivery, got a nick and Tikolo held a superb one-handed slip catch to his left.
Nor was Irving Romaine, the captain who has had to bail his side out too many times, in any mood to hang around. He thumped Varaiya four times for four to long-on and once through midwicket, and when Tikolo brought himself on Romaine went one better, hitting a six to the same spot. But he was taking chances and later that over Ongondo spilled a chance at deep square leg. Tikolo's spin attack was taking punishment and so he brought back Odoyo with immediate effect, Romaine being undone by low bounce as he played back.
Hemp was playing a sensible anchor innings, reaching his fifty off 117 balls, and so Janeiro Tucker took up the attack, depositing Tikolo into the sightscreen in an over which yielded 14 runs. But while Hemp played some lovely cricket shots, Tucker often opted for less conventional means and it was not too surprising when he lost his middle stump trying to cut the persevering Varaiya.
Dwayne Leverock then held up his end as Hemp milked the bad balls - and there were enough to keep the scoreboard moving. He seemed on course for his hundred when bad light ended play with him five runs short.
This was Bermuda's best day for some time, all the more so as they recovered from such a dismal start. Kenya didn't bowl as well as Tikolo wanted after he had given them first use of a helpful track, but they still edged the day.