Kevin O'Brien sets up comprehensive win
Ireland 285 for 6 (Kevin O'Brien 83) beat Kenya 199 (Cusack 3-29) by 86 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A blistering half-century from Kevin O'Brien helped Ireland beat Kenya by 86 runs in Nairobi and secure their first win of the tri-series. Kevin struck 83 off 52 balls with five sixes and propelled his team to 285 for 6 in a 47-over match, an improved batting performance after their collapse against Zimbabwe on Friday.
Kenya never recovered from losing half their side for 122, and the escalating run-rate proved too great a challenge to overcome for the rest. They were bowled out for 199 in 44 overs with Jimmy Kamande top scoring with 42. Regan West took 2 for 35 off his ten overs while Alex Cusack picked up 3 for 29 off six.
Ireland's victory, however, wasn't an easy ride. A top-order wobble eroded a sound start from their openers. William Porterfield and Niall O'Brien had added 55 for the first wicket but Ireland lost four wickets for another 55. Niall was the first to fall, stumped by Maurice Ouma while charging against Jimmy Kamande, followed by Porterfield and Gary Wilson. Andre Botha had slog-swept Steve Tikolo over midwicket for a six but offered a return catch the very next ball. He, like the others before him, failed to build on a start.
Kevin, batting at No. 6, walked to the crease in the 27th over of the innings. He and Andrew White began to counter-attack, scoring 82 in 11 overs for the fifth wicket. White took the initiative, sweeping and pulling the spinners Hiren Varaiya and Tikolo to the leg side. He even played the reverse-sweep successfully. Kevin lofted Varaiya over long-on for the first of his sixes. Two of the other four disappeared straight down the ground while the others were over deep midwicket and cover.
Ireland did not lose momentum even after White was bowled by a yorker from Lameck Onyango. Alex Cusack got off the mark by smashing debutant Rajesh Bhudia over the midwicket boundary. In 7.3 overs, Kevin and Cusack added 73 runs and Ireland had reached 265 by the time Kevin was run out. Cusack ensured the innings ended in a flourish: he scored 36 off 30 balls and Ireland managed 103 from the final ten.
Kenya used six bowlers. Hiren Varaiya took 1 for 40 off his ten, while Tikolo finished with 2 for 43 in eight. Peter Ongondo, the new-ball bowler, wasn't called upon to finish his quota after bowling six overs for 25 runs.
The asking-rate was over six but Kenya's run-chase had a promising start. Their openers Seren Waters, playing his first ODI, and Kennedy Otieno pierced the off-side field in each of the first three overs and, by the end of the sixth, Kenya were 37 for 0. Boyd Rankin gave Ireland their first opening, using his height to gain extra bounce and hit the top of Otieno's handle for a catch at gully. The run-rate slowed, Kenya scored only 17 off the next seven overs, and Rakep Patel fell to a skier off Andre Botha.
The critical blow came when Waters, who batted 74 balls for his 41, hit one hard back at West, who took the catch at head height. The innings fell apart after that and the steady stream of wickets, and the lack of a noteworthy partnership, ensured the Kenyan challenge ended tamely.