Kenya ease past low-scoring Canada and into semis
Kenya 92 for 6 (Otieno 40) beat Canada 91 by four wickets
After a succession of low-scoring matches, there is some concern about the state of the pitch at the Civil Services Ground, and reports are that inconsistent bounce is the main problem. Associate members not used to this form of the game are finding it difficult to keep their wickets intact while trying to score more quickly than usual, perhaps something akin to trying to drive at 100 miles an hour along a dirt road. Kenya at least managed to keep attacking and out of trouble as they successfully chased down a target of 92 against Canada with four wickets and 13 balls in hand.
Canada decided to bat and opened with John Davison, but he was unable to give them the flying start they desired. He scored only two runs off the first over, and holed out at deep midwicket off Peter Ongondo for just 6 runs off 13 balls. Abdool Samad soon followed for 6, caught and bowled by Thomas Odoyo after skying an attempted pull, followed by Geoff Barnett caught at fine leg for 13, and Canada were 32 for 3 in the 6th over.
Skyers seemed to be the order of the day, as Ashish Bagai was next to go, skying a return catch to Tony Suji for 8. A fine run-out by Steve Tikolo removed Zubin Surkari for 4, and the Kenyan captain then two balls later picked up a superb low catch in the gully to remove Sunil Dhaniram for 6. After ten overs, Canada were facing disaster at 50 for 6.
A useful partnership followed between Karun Jethi (13) and Sanjay Thuraisingam (15), who put on 29 together by sensible batting and good running rather than big hitting. But once they were separated, wickets again tumbled, and the innings came to a sorry conclusion at 91 in the final over. Ongondo (2 for 18) and Suji (2 for 22) were the most successful bowlers, while all the others were economical. The batting was not good, but the bowlers did a fine job.
Rain had started when Canada had nine wickets down, but the players stayed out until the last wicket fell. There was a heavy but brief shower, and play was not held up for much over half an hour. Kenya suffered a blow in the first over, as Maurice Ouma ran himself out for 1. In Henry Osinde's next over Kennedy Otieno/Obuya hit him for a fine six over extra cover, and with Nehemiah Odhiambo he kept the score moving well: after five overs it was 28 for one.
At this point Odhiambo, going for a violent pull, was caught at the wicket for 12. Steve Tikolo came in and soon showed his true class with two boundaries through the covers off his first four balls, from Harvir Baidwan, the second a true classic all along the ground. He looked less comfortable against the left-arm spinner Sunil Dhaniram, though, and after a ferocious appeal for a catch at the wicket was rejected, fell lbw next ball for 12.
Otieno continued to attack, sweeping Davison for a six well over the square-leg boundary. After ten overs, Kenya were 57 for 3. Thomas Odoyo, attempting a six, was caught on the square-leg boundary for 7, and Jimmy Kamande (5) skied a big hit to be taken by the same bowler, Davison, who finished with 2 for 19.
With 10 runs wanted in the final four overs, Kenya had no worries about run rate, but wickets continued to fall, the heroic Obuya holing out next on the leg boundary for 40. But by now his team was nearly home, and Ragheb Aga and Alex Obanda managed the job without further mishap. Davison and Baidwan (2 for 12) took two wickets each, while Dhaniram took an economical 1 for 15.
Kenya finish behind Netherlands in Group A, and the two teams progress to the semi-finals, with Canada losing out. All managed one victory, so net run-rate decided the positions.