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October 18, 2007
Kenya 233 for 6 (Odoyo 111*, Bhatti 3-19) beat Canada 230 (Kandappah 69*, Onyango 3-29) by four wickets
Thomas Odoyo's maiden ODI century led a remarkable Kenya fightback in the opening match of their short series against Canada in Nairobi. He came in with the home side in tatters at 49 for 5 chasing 231, but calmly set about a recovery before taking the game away from Canada with a flurry of boundaries alongside a composed Jimmy Kamande who helped add a match-winning stand of 98 in 13 overs.
Odoyo, who opened his first-class century count against Bermuda last week, was again in commanding form and highlighted his importance to Kenya and also his standing among Associate players. Kenya were falling apart when he arrived in the 11th over, but he was quickly into his stride. Any half volley that came along was emphatically dispatched through the covers, while short balls didn't cause any problems. As the requirement was reduced to double figures he began using his feet to the spinners and finished the chase in fine style with a straight drive off Sunil Dhaniram. The paltry crowd of a hundred or so spectators grew as Odoyo expanded his shots and a large group of schoolchildren arrived to cheer him on.
But Odoyo wouldn't have succeeded without support from his team-mates, in particular Alex Obanda, the nineteen-year-old. Obanda might have missed out had Tanmay Mishra been picked, but Mishra didn't attend training and, to compound the confusion, he is preparing to go to university in India. They didn't miss him today, however, with Obanda repairing the initial damage with 30 in a stand of 86. Kamande, who earlier bowled an economical spell of offspin, then showed his batting skills with a 31-ball 37.
The result was hard luck on Umar Bhatti, the left-arm opening bowler, who had produced an outstanding spell, bowling his 10 overs straight through for three wickets. He had David Obuya caught at mid-off, removed Nehemiah Odhiambo with a first-ball edge to the wicketkeeper and accounted for Steve Tikolo for a duck in similar style.
Canada had wasted a promising position with the bat after racing to 89 for 2 in the 13th over. They slipped to 131 for 6 as Kamande and Tikolo conceded 62 in 20 overs between them. But 36-year-old Arvind Kandappah, making his ODI debut, ensured against a complete collapse. He added 52 with Jason Patraj (20) then Umar Bhatti contributed a 17-ball 22.
Kandappah reached fifty off 73 balls and hit three sixes, but Canada couldn't bat out their 50 overs. Patraj was taken at extra cover and Bhatti heaved to mid-on, although they had at least given their side something to bowl at. For a while it looked like enough, but then Odoyo made his presence felt.
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