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March 3, 2006
Zimbabwe 231 for 9 (Rinke 72, Taylor 40, Ongondo 3-32, Odoyo 3-50)beat Kenya 122 (Otieno 69, Higgins 4-21) by 109 runs
A 70-ball 72 from Piet Rinke helped Zimbabwe to a series-levelling victory in the fourth ODI against Kenya at Harare Sports Club. Zimbabwe made 231 for 9 in a match which was reduced to 44-overs-a-side by heavy overnight storms which left the outfield sodden. Their total proved more than enough as Kenya were bowled out for 122, with Ryan Higgins grabbing 4 for 21. With one match to go, there's now everything to play for.
While it had been optimistic to expect the full tally of overs to be fitted in before the light faded - two and a half hours had been lost to rain first up - Zimbabwe's use of spinners combined with a dire collapse by Kenya meant that the game was settled just as it was getting dark.
Rinke and Terry Duffin gave Zimbabwe a solid start with an opening stand of 99, and when Duffin departed Brendan Taylor kept up the tempo with a brisk 40. But, as had been the case on Wednesday, Zimbabwe's lower middle order and tail offered little, as they lost five wickets for 14 runs at the death.
The pitch was expected to give the seamers some early assistance but, if so, the Kenyans never bowled well enough to find out. Their seamers just could not find consistent line and length, and Duffin and Rinke played sensible cricket, hitting the bad ball well and not having to wait long for it.
Duffin excelled with the drive, while Rinke was less orthodox, playing some rustic pulls with power but good judgement. The bowlers were unable to put any consistent pressure on them.
The batting became bogged down after Duffin's departure - even Rinke, who ran himself out in frustration. Charles Coventry briefly threatened to break the shackles with two skimming drives for four, but didn't last. Elton Chigumbura played some superb strokes, showing what talent he has, even though still undisciplined, and Taylor later blossomed to give Zimbabwe a good score on a slow outfield.
Duffin again showed courage and enterprise as captain, bringing on offspinner Prosper Utseya for the ninth over and then adding legspinner Higgins at the other end three overs later. Higgins immediately made a crucial breakthrough by yorking Steve Tikolo and, since Kenya had fallen behind the run rate, this looked likely to seal their doom.
Kennedy Otieno alone looked capable of getting the ball off the square - while those who did got out. And even though Otieno made 69, he never looked dominant. Zimbabwe's fielding improved along with their confidence, and three of the catches taken fell into the brilliant category.
A crowd of about 400 watched the match. They were lively and enthusiastic when Zimbabwe were doing well, which meant that today they had plenty to cheer about.
Kenya currently are not a patch on their 2003 World Cup side, though, while the Zimbabweans might as well have come from another country, as none of their former World Cup players were in today's team.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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