Zimbabwe v Kenya, 3rd ODI, Harare October 15, 2009

Kenya claim vital victory

Cricinfo staff
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50 overs Kenya 266 for 9 (Obanda 65) beat Zimbabwe 246 (Taylor 92) by 20 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Kenya clawed their way back into contention in their five-match series against Zimbabwe, winning the third match of the rubber by 20 runs in Harare. Batting first, they posted a competitive 266 for 9 in their fifty overs after winning their first toss of the series, and maintained their grip on the contest despite a 142-run stand for Zimbabwe's fourth wicket between Brendan Taylor and Stuart Matsikenyeri.

Trailing 2-0 after heavy defeats in the first two games, Kenya's batting fired at the third attempt, as David Obuya and Alex Obanda produced a pair of half-centuries in a first-wicket stand of 119, before Collins Obuya and Thomas Odoyo provided the innings with vital late momentum.

Graeme Cremer, who claimed a career-best 6 for 46 in the second match, was this time dispatched at a run a ball in nine wicketless overs, although he was involved in two of Kenya's three run-outs, including Collins Obuya for 52 from the final ball of the innings.

Instead it was the left-arm spinner Ray Price who kept Zimbabwe in the reckoning with 2 for 22 in nine immaculate overs. His wickets included Steve Tikolo for 1 and the dangerous Odoyo, who had made 28 from 22 balls when he fell to a return catch. The seldom-used medium pace of Hamilton Masakadza also proved useful to Zimbabwe, as he picked up the wickets of both openers to finish with 2 for 22 in six overs.

Zimbabwe's reply got off to an inauspicious start when the dangerous Mark Vermeulen was trapped lbw for 7 by Odoyo, who then followed up in his next over by bowling Charles Coventry for 1. Zimbabwe's batsman of the series, Masakadza, responded with eight fours in a feisty 42, but Nehemiah Odhiambo bagged him early in his spell - the first of his four wickets.

From 62 for 3, however, Zimbabwe responded through a responsible partnership between Taylor and Matsikenyeri, who rotated the strike well and rebuilt their innings to such an extent that, with ten overs remaining, they were marginal favourites, needing seven an over with three wickets standing.

But Hiren Varaiya ended the stand with his left-arm spin, first by bowling Matsikenyeri for 58 from 85 balls, and he then repeated the dose in the following over to leave the more aggressive Taylor eight runs short of his maiden ODI hundred. He had produced a fine innings, with seven fours and two sixes in 109 balls, but his dismissal would prove decisive.

Elton Chigumbura tried to keep the momentum going, striking a four and a six in a 24-ball 21, but his colleagues in the lower-order couldn't cope with Odhiambo's accuracy. With Sean Williams unable to bat through injury, the pressure was too great, and Zimbabwe were eventually dismissed with one ball of the match remaining, the contest already well out of their reach.