South Africa, after the resounding win against Zimbabwe, had moved to second place ahead of their neighbours on the point's table. To be sure of a place in the final on Sunday, they however needed to win this match by a big margin to increase their net run rate.
This was not to be. Whether the South Africans underestimated the Kenyans will not be known but the experimentation continued. Firstly Hansie Cronje decided to opening the batting, then decided to bowl three overs from a five meter run-up giving away 21 runs. Paul Adams was also allowed to bowl his full quota of 10 overs for 59 runs that included five wides, while Shaun Pollock and Steve Elworthy had overs in hand. If it was not for the South African fielding they might just not have won this match.
Losing the toss and asked to bat first by Maurice Odumbe, South Africa with their rotation policy came into the game with three changes, Boeta Dippenaar for Herschelle Gibbs, Elworthy for Derek Crookes and Victor Mpitsang for Alan Dawson. Kenya left out Josephat Ababu for debutante Peter Oshieng.
The first surprise of the day was that captain Cronje came out to open the innings with Dippenaar, while Martin Suji and Thomas Odoyo were entrusted with the new ball. Unlike yesterday's early overs, the Kenyan bowlers strayed to both sides of the wickets and it was Dippenaar who recorded the first boundary of the day with a little flick to fine leg. He followed this with two more fours, one to backward square leg and one past backward point, off the bowling of Suji.
Cronje was soon on his way, playing back and fishing outside off, nudged the ball to Kennedy Otieno's right and taking a very good one handed catch. Cronje's demise for two left South Africa at 23/1 and made way for Lance Klusener to come to the wicket.
Klusener, being tucked up by the bowlers, struggled to free his arms and battled with the pace of pitch. It was not until the ninth over that he did manage to drive Suji away to the long on fence boundary and repeated the same shot to Odoyo the next over.
Under the overcast conditions the Kenyan bowlers slowly regained their composure, getting the line and length right to make scoring difficult for the two batsmen.
With Suji moving the ball away off a good length, Dippenaar who had played and missed a few balls outside the off, struck a glorious cover drive in the 13 th over. If there was one notable mistake in his technique it seemed to be the ball fullish in length outside the off. His foot was just not getting far enough across causing him to push at the ball as it went by.
With only 12 runs being scored between overs 10 and 16 the Kenyan pace bowlers had, as they had done against India, done a marvellous job with the ball. Containing one of the most aggressive batsmen in one-day international cricket was going to pay dividends.
This it did, as a frustrated Klusener trying to force the pace, got a leading edge to Anthony Suji that went high to long on for Odoyo to take a good running catch. Klusener, who made 22, was soon followed by Dippenaar for 26 as he skied Ochieng to midwicket for Ravindu Shah to take the catch. South Africa had gone from 55/2 to 56/3.
A contrast in technique, with similar results, between Benkenstein, using his feet and Jacques Kallis, playing from the crease, resulted in one's and two's with the occasional four being scored around the ground.
The recovery was short lived when Benkenstein received a full toss from Sheikh and pulled it straight into the hands of Odoyo at mid-wicket. A short breezy innings of 12 came to a disappointing end and South Africa 83/4.
Jonty Rhodes came to the crease and nearly left it four balls later. Holding back on a shot outside the off, from Sheikh, he scooped the ball to backward point where Alpesh Vadher was a bit slow to get to the catch.
Rhodes receiving a full toss from Sheikh, showed Benkenstein what he should have done, by sending the ball high over the wide long on fence for the maximum and bringing up the South African 100 in the 31 st over. A second straight six followed from Sheikh's next over.
Vadher must have cursed his slip in the field when Rhodes played the shot of the day off Odumbe, a cracking cover drive past extra cover. Rhodes had raced to 30 when he should have been out without scoring.
Rhodes, one of the few South African batsmen who can play spin, employed the sweep and pull sweep to great effect. Kallis following suit was content to give the bowling to his partner, plus putting the odd short ball away to the point boundary.
The 50 partnership came up in the 36 th over with Rhodes contributing 38 of them. With no Lance Klusener to come and save South Africa, Rhodes had filled the big mans shoes admirably.
Captain Odumbe, who could not stop the "Jonty Express" taking impossible singles, reverted to his pace bowlers for the breakthrough.
It was Martin Suji who proved Rhodes's undoing. In trying to clear the long on fence Rhodes got under it and gave Ochieng an easy catch near the boundary to depart for 45 off 46 deliveries, helping South Africa to 156/5
As so often happens in a good partnership, Kallis followed soon afterwards. Slashing a vicious cover drive at a half volley from Anthony Suji, Kallis could only smile as Odoyo snatched a rocket out of the air at short cover. Kallis was gone for 39 and South Africa 158/6 in the 40 th over.
Once again South Africa had two new batsmen at the crease. With only one recognised batsman, Elworthy, to come additional responsibility had been placed on Pollock and Mark Boucher. One of Rhodes or Kallis should have made sure of batting through the innings.
As Rhodes did, Pollock and Boucher used the sweep to accumulate runs between square leg and fine leg. Pollock did however in the 45 th over come down the pitch to hoist Tikolo for maximum at long off.
The 200 came up in the 48 th over with both batsmen still content to work the ball into gaps. Good running turned one's into two's with one quick run turning into three because of an unnecessary overthrow from Tikolo.
Pollock started the 49 th over sending Odoyo out the park at long on. Trying it once too often, and playing across the line, saw himself bowled for 30. He had hit one four and two sixes and took the score to 207/7.
Some good running by Elworthy and Boucher, plus a four from Boucher saw 11 runs coming off the final over, bowled by Odumbe, for South Africa to end their 50 overs on 220/7.
Martin and Anthony Suji were the best of the Kenyan bowlers with two wickets apiece, while Sheikh and Tikolo gave away 61 runs in their combined 10 overs.
Kenya needing 221 to win, and cause a big upset in the tournament, started off nervously with Kennedy Otieno and Ravindu Shah sparring outside the off to Pollock and content to defend to Kallis.
Pollock started the afternoon session with three maidens in a row, while Kallis had given away 3 boundaries, one driven by Shah, one edged past the slips by Shah, and one off Shah's pads.
Kallis started the sixth over having Shah put down by Pollock at second slip, and then watched Otieno come down the pitch and smack him over extra cover for four.
Pollock made amends for the dropped catch by having Shah driving and edging to Boucher for nine. Kenyan were nearly 20/2 when Vadher survived a huge appeal for LBW first ball up to what looked like a ball that just pitched outside the line.
Kallis bowling at quite a pace, bowled the odd wide, but was also beating the bat with regularity. When he did twice catch the edge of the bat the ball landed just short of second slip. He got his reward in the 12 th over catching Otieno right in front, on the back foot, for seven and Kenya's second wicket was down for 28.
Steven Tikolo who started slowly severely punished anything loose. He cut Steve Elworthy past point, pulled Klusener to square leg and made a meal of Paul Adams.
Elworthy was back to his normal length and after four overs had brought his economy rate back to two runs an over. Bowling with enough pace and not giving the batsmen any width or room to play their shots in, made it easy for Cronje to set a field to. Frustrating Vadher, he nearly held onto a great caught and bowled chance but the ball just popped out.
Klusener unlucky not to get Vadher when the latter edged a four just wide of a diving Boucher got his man an over later with the help of a great diving catch by Boucher. Vadher out for 17 and Kenya had lost their third wicket for 60 in the 23 rd over.
With the run rate required going above 6 runs an over Tikolo started to show some urgency. First dispatching a long hop from Adams to the mid-wicket fence, and then chipped Klusener to the fence for three with Cronje just hauling it in at the rope.
Klusener picked up his second wicket when Odumbe was trapped right in front for 3 and Kenya on 74/4.
Adams at the other end was way off with his length. Bowling at least one full toss an over and the odd short ball mixed with a few wides made it easy for the batsmen, especially for Tikolo. Good fielding by the South Africans helped to keep his bowling figures on the five runs per over. He got his first wicket in the 32 nd over when Hitesh Modi tried to sweep but top edged to Cronje taking a good diving catch at backward square leg. Modi had been at the crease for 16 balls scoring 10 runs to leave Kenya struggling at 95/6.
Mpitsang, the 19 year old, playing in only his second international, made a brief appearance before giving away 13 in his third over when Tikolo and Odoyo were on the charge.
Steven Tikolo brought up his 50 in the 36 th over with a smashing cover drive through the off field. An innings that grew in stature the longer he stayed at the crease. With the run rate required at just over seven runs to the over, and batting with Thomas Odoyo, Kenya were still very much in this match and making South Africa fight for a victory.
Cronje realising his position replaced Adams and Mpitsang with Kallis and Elworthy but it was first Tikolo who sent Elworthy to the square leg and mid-wicket fence for two fours and then Odoyo who crashed Kallis to the long on fence and then tickled Elworthy to the fine leg fence.
Adams was once more brought back but was still inclined to bowl too short giving the batsmen plenty of time to play their shots.
Cronje brought himself on in the 41 st over giving away 6 runs, including 2 wides, bowling from a shortened run-up. In his second over he got a very lucky wicket, that of Tikolo, sweeping and being adjudged LBW to a ball that appeared to take a bottom edge. Tikolo had batted superbly and was out for 67 off 87 ball including 9 fours.
Anthony Suji now joined Odoyo but was out three balls later without scoring, caught by Rhodes off Adams bowling.
Odoyo was left to attack Cronje and smashed him for two fours to take 13 off the 45 th over. Kenya needed 40 runs in the last five overs.
With Kallis still having two overs and Pollock three overs to bowl, Adams was, for some reason, kept on and gave away 10 runs in the 46 th over that included two wides to finish his 10 over spell with 59/2.
Pollock, now given the ball, came back on in the 47 th over and proceeded to join the other bowlers in giving the umpire some exercise with another wide. He did however get a charging Odoyo to edge a catch to Boucher. Odoyo had made his highest one-day international score of 41 off 50 balls including five fours and Kenya now in trouble at 195/8.
It was up to Sheikh and Martin Suji to get Kenya home while South Africa hopes were on Kallis and Pollock.
Kallis bowled a very good, straight and full, 48 th over and was rewarded with the wicket of Suji bowled by a reverse swinging leg stump yorker without scoring. Kenya was now 196/9 with Pollock to bowl the 49 th over and still 25 runs short.
It was all over first ball of the over with Sheikh hoisting him to the long on boundary where Klusener accepted the catch. Sheikh gone for nine off 12 balls and Kenya all out for 196.
South Africa won by 24 runs with Pollock taking 3/10 in 8.1 overs, and now has to wait for the India vs Zimbabwe match to see who plays in the final.