Kenya complete impressive chase
Kenya 433 and 320 for 5 (Patel 87, Obuya 79) beat Netherlands 385 and 367 for dec (Szwarczynski 93, Kervezee 89, Otieno 3-59) by five wickets
Kenya sealed an impressive five-wicket win in the gloom on the final day at the Nairobi Gymkhana, with aggressive half-centuries from David Obuya, Rakep Patel and Collins Obuya helping to chase down a daunting target of 320 in 62 overs.
Patel and Obuya started strongly after Netherlands had declared at 367 for 6, bringing up the 50 in the ninth over. Obuya went to his own half-century from 72 balls, with seven fours, and Patel was not far behind as a tiring Netherlands bowling attack struggled on a lifeless pitch. The chase soon took on the proportions of a limited-overs game, as Kenya went to tea needing 261 in a maximum of 50 overs.
Kenya passed 100 in the 23rd over, and shortly afterwards the 20-year-old Patel reached his maiden first-class half-century, continuing his development after a strong showing in the preceding ODI series. The opening stand was eventually broken when Obuya fell to left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar, but with 113 added in just under 26 overs, a strong platform from which to launch a chase had been laid.
Obuya wasted no time in asserting himself over the bowling attack, cracking three sixes before he had passed fifty. His confidence soon began to rub off on Patel, who lofted two sixes of his own before he was stumped by Atse Buurman with a maiden century in sight. His dismissal brought Alex Obanda, another promising young Kenyan batsman, to the crease with 125 still needed and 26 overs remaining.
Obuya and Obanda added 81 in quick time to take Kenya to the brink, but Ryan ten Doeschate then struck twice in successive overs to remove both and threaten to take the match to a thrilling denouement. With victory agonisingly close, a nervy Maurice Ouma was run out for 12, but Jimmy Kamande and Nehemiah Odhiambo held firm to seal the chase with two overs to spare.
Netherlands will be left ruing their decision to declare after their openers, Alexei Kervezee and Eric Szwarczynski, had taken them to a seemingly impregnable position with an opening stand of 187. Both added only four runs each to their overnight scores, before Kervezee was bowled by Nehemiah and Szwarczynski was trapped lbw by Nelson Odhiambo. Nick Statham's unbeaten 62 continued their steady work, and a series of boundary-laden cameos from captain Peter Borren, ten Doeschate and Buurman boosted the score before the declaration came.
The win pushes Kenya clear of Zimbabwe XI into third on the points table, and they now sit just six points behind second-placed Scotland. Scotland still have three games to play, however, while Kenya have only one - against Afghanistan in October - and so their chances of making the final remain remote. Netherlands' next game is against Scotland in June, and after a draw and two losses that leave them in fifth position, they will be hoping for a strong performance.