Kumar stars in facile win over Kenya
India A 99 for 0 (Kumar 57*) beat Kenya 98 by 10 wickets
A tight bowling performance and some entertaining batting from the openers took India A to an easy win in their first one-dayer against Kenya at the Gymkhana Ground in Nairobi. Praveen Kumar backed up Pankaj Singh's 4 for 29 with three economical wickets before blazing an unbeaten 57 from 27 deliveries to take India to their target of 99 in 7.4 overs.
Mohammed Kaif won the toss on an unusually chilly Nairobi morning and decided to put Kenya in. Singh struck with the first delivery of the third over when he got David Obuya to nick one behind to Parthiv Patel. Kumar removed his fellow opener Maurice Ouma, edging to second slip, Singh got rid of Tanmay Mishra and Kumar bowled Tony Suji to make it 18 for 4. Captain Thomas Odoyo managed 43 from 53 balls, amid further strikes from Singh, Kumar and Yo Mahesh, but his fall - he was last out - left India with the relatively simple target of 99.
They set about their task in spectacular fashion. Kumar hammered Peter Ongondo's first delivery, a rank half-volley, over extra cover for six. In the second over, bowled by Nehemiah Odhiambo, he picked up six more over the deep square boundary followed by a square cut and a lofted drive over cover for boundaries.
Those shots took him to 28 from 11 deliveries while his partner Yusuf Pathan was still on 1. He was not about to shy away from the sumptious bowling on offer, however, and smashed Ongondo over long-on and into the car park region.
Rajesh Bhudia was brought on earlier than he would expected, in the fourth over, and Kumar picked up two sixes, the first a Mahendra Singh Dhoni-like whip over deep midwicket and the second a regulation pull in the same direction, to raise India's 50 in 4 overs. Lameck Onyango was introduced in the fifth over and Pathan immediately swept him for two before hitting him for six. Fours came at the same alarming rate as Kumar and Pathan (29 from 20 balls) finished an easy run chase.
Both captains conceded that winning the toss was very important. When asked at the post-match presser what he would have chosen to do had he won the toss, Odoyo said he would have fielded in an attempt to utilise the overcast conditions.