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Savaged by minnows

Martin Williamson
Kenya were 500-1 outsiders but they managed to topple double world champions West Indies

Maurice Odumbe
3 for 15 v West Indies, 1996

Kenya arrived at the 1996 World Cup as 500-1 outsiders with few expectations. West Indies, twice winners, were a shambles, with Richie Richardson under pressure to quit as captain and the side in complete disarray. Nevertheless, none of the 5000 inside the Nehru Stadium expected anything other than a routine win for the double world champions.

The first half of the game went according to plan, as Kenya struggled to 166 all out after being stuck in. Even when West Indies lost both their openers cheaply, it seemed nothing more than a hiccup. But Brian Lara, batting at No. 3, proceeded to throw his bat around as if he was in the nets, and his dismissal for 8 - caught behind by an astonished wicketkeeper, the portly bespectacled Tariq Iqbal - triggered a remarkable collapse as Maurice Odumbe's gentle offspin ripped through the middle order and West Indies were bowled out for 93.

"It's like winning the World Cup," Odumbe beamed after leading his side on a euphoric lap of honour. "It's a dream come true. The West Indies are our idols, and to beat an idol is a great thing." Richardson walked out of the post-match media conference after making a terse statement. "My congratulations to Kenya for winning a very important match," he said. "We did not play the way we should have. I am very, very disappointed. I have nothing more to add." His team-mates, meanwhile, posed for photographs with the victorious Kenyans in their dressing room.

The Caribbean media were more forthcoming and the team was savaged. In Nairobi, where cricket was regarded as the preserve of the white and Asian elite, the upset was not even mentioned on TV or radio. And in the days that followed, there were calls for Lara to be sent home after it was alleged he had told the Kenyans that he didn't mind losing to them as much as to a white team like South Africa. He later claimed his comments had been taken out of context and issued an apology.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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