Bangladesh 231 (Nafees 57, Kapali 55, Ongondo 3-40, Tikolo 3-32) beat Kenya 211 (Mishra 48, Obuya 45, Mohammad Rafique 5-47) by 20 runs
Bangladesh secured their third straight win against Kenya, and in so doing won the four-match series, but it was their least convincing performance to date, and for a time Kenya even threatened to pull off a remarkable comeback after being down and out halfway through their innings.
In the end, Kenya's middle and lower order were left with too much to do, but well-paced contributions from Collins Obuya (45) and Tanmay Mishra ensured that the home supporters had to endure more than a few anxious moments. Only when Mishra became the fourth of Mohammad Rafique's five victims with 25 needed from 11 balls could they finally relax.
A win is a win, but Dav Whatmore will be disappointed at what was a below-par performance after two games in which Bangladesh underlined the gulf in class between them and the Kenyans. At times today they appeared complacent, and they almost paid for that.
Their innings stuttered in the early stages against some tight bowling, and it took some enterprise from Aftab Ahmed to ease the shackles. But his dismissal, chancing his arm once too often, triggered a wobble, engineered by the impressive Peter Ongondo, which reduced Bangladesh to 65 for 4. Shahriar Nafees steadied the ship, adding 70 for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Rafique, who chipped in with a 33-ball 31.
Steve Tikolo, back in the side after a viral infection forced him out of the previous match, dismissed Nafees for 57 just after the halfway mark, but that only increased the run-rate as Alok Kapali, possibly the last-ever Supersub, and Khaled Mashud (39 from 51) put on a breezy 89 to enable Bangladesh to post 231. Whereas in the first two matches Kenya's bowling deteriorated in the latter stages, with Tikolo maintaining the pressure with his offspin, Bangladesh were bowled out with more than four overs to spare.
Given the pattern of the first two meetings, that did not seem vital at the time, and Kenya's start was equally unconvincing as they slipped to 79 for 4 midway through their innings. After losing the out-of-sorts Kennedy Otieno and David Obuya early, they made steady headway thanks to Tikolo and Hitesh Modi, but were never able to get on top of the bowlers.
Syed Rasel, the pick of the Bangladesh attack in the first two games, was bowled through his 10 overs, but it was Abdur Razzak who took the key wicket of Tikolo, a superb catch off his own bowling. Tikolo stood his ground, probably more through disappointment as there was little doubt about that the low chance had been cleanly taken.
Hitesh Modi followed soon after, trapped leg before by Mohammad Rafique, and as the asking rate crept past a run a ball, that appeared to be that. However, Obuya, whose bowling remains unconvincing despite time spent with Terry Jenner last year, showed he remains a useful batsman, and he found a doughty ally in the precocious Mishra. Together they not only ensured the margin of defeat was small, but also - briefly - threatened something more dramatic.