Zimbabwe 306 for 7 (Chigumbura 79, Sibanda 77, Masakadza 71) beat Kenya 197 (Kamande 74, Rainsford 2-19, Chigumbura 2-23) by 109 runs
Vusi Sibanda's 77 and a brutal 38-ball 79 from Elton Chigumbura led Zimbabwe to a 109-run thrashing of Kenya in the first of five one-dayers, in Mombasa. Set a towering 307 to win, Kenya lost four early wickets inside the first sixteen overs and, despite Jimmy Kamande's best efforts with 74, he was given little support.
Zimbabwe have dominated Kenya over the years, winning 15 times out of 22, but they've struggled in recent meetings, losing three of the last four. Today, however, their batsmen asserted their authority on Kenya's wayward bowling attack as Sibanada and Hamilton Masakadza got them off to a brisk start, putting on 111 for the first wicket.
Masakadza, who cracked a scorching 77 in November to push Sri Lanka close, was at his aggressive best: Nehemiah Odhiambo was carved for consecutive fours before he opened his shoulders against Lameck Onyango, and such was his clean-hitting that Hiren Varaiya couldn't cling onto a trick chance at mid-on. Sibanda, less aggressive than his partner, was content to nurdle ones and twos, but nevertheless took advantage of any leg-side deliveries - of which there were plenty from Peter Ongondo. A sublime back-foot drive shot through the covers and, shortly after reaching fifty, he smacked Varaiya over long-on for six.
Soon after the pair's hundred partnership, Varaiya had Masakadza well-caught by Onyango at mid-on, and Steve Tikolo took two quick wickets to slow Zimbabwe's momentum at 188 for 4. That, however, merely paved the way for Chigumbura's breathless assault. Kamande was smashed over midwicket; Tikolo, likewise, was heaved over the same region.
Thomas Obuya was also guilty of a leg-stump line and suffered the same consequences, as Chigumbura lifted two more sixes, and another straight-swatted slog off Odhiambo brought him fifty from just 28 balls. Two more boundaries saw him pass his previous highest of 77 against Bangladesh in February 2007 as Kenya, who used eight bowlers in all, struggled to contain the run-rate.
It was a welcome return to form for Chigumbura after an inconsistent last few months. He made an immediate impact with the ball, too, when he bowled Maurice Ouma for 3. A needless slog across the line from Alex Obanda handed him his second wicket before Kenya looked to their rising star, 18-year-old Seren Waters, for some stability. Cautious at first, Waters began to find his timing with a sweet glance off his hip for four before cutting Ray Price firmly through point. Two more cuts in succession off Masakadza brought up Kenya's fifty, but Price bowled Waters with a lovely, flighted delivery.
Collins Obuya was stumped by Forster Mutizwa off Graeme Cremer who also grabbed the key wicket of Steve Tikolo for 37. With the score tottering on 93 for 6, and having never reached more than 286 in an ODI run-chase, Kenya's hopes were dashed. Kamande and Varaiya put on 90 in 21 overs, only occasionally able to lift the scoring rate with a bludgeoned four, though Kamande did lift Dabengwa for two consecutive sixes to please the local crowd. Ed Rainsford cleaned up Kamande for an 86-ball 74, and Kenya's tail offered little resistance.