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Kenya make Australia work for win

Kenya didn't have the wherewithal to upstage the Aussies, but with some courage and plenty of resolve it demonstrated that they could surely be extended. The Aussies overhauled the target of 204, for the loss of five wickets, but they were made to work for it. And the game taken to the wire, with Shane Watson hitting the winning run with just five balls to spare to maintain Australia's unbeaten record.

Kenyans definitely are on a fast learning curve. They got their basics right, and in the process showed the way to Pakistan for the final. Displaying grit and application while batting, they worked hard to get the partnerships going and in between kept taking the attack to the Aussie bowlers by periodically displaying aggression and taking boundaries. And they put up an inspired defence of what was a modest target by bowling a tight line, and fiedling like panthers. Their best still was not good enough, but the Aussies for the first time had the semblance of a fight.

With a fighting total on the board, the Kenyan bowlers thought it was their turn to deliver, and to a man they stuck to the task, making it as tough as better than a run a ball in the latter stages, but it was not beyond the scope of the World Champions, especially with all-rounder Watson (77, off 113 balls, his first 50-plus in one-dayers) batting as well as he did.

The Aussie campaign had hit a trough when stand-in skipper Adam Gilchrist, having made an untypical 41 off 81 deliveries (3 fours, 1 six), in desperation holed out in the deep to Angara off leggie Collins Obuya. From 83 for three in the 26th over, Watson and Symonds (43, 59 balls, 4 fours) made up for the early hiccups with a 79-run stand for the fourth wicket to lead Australia's resurgence.

With the last 24 deliveries to go and 30 runs needed, things were still tight for Australia. Warne was run-out but Watson kept his cool; he and Brett Lee scored a six apiece in the penultimate Ongondo over to end the uncertainty.

Odumbe-inspired Kenya show the way:

Inspired by their seasoned campaigner, Maurice Odumbe's quicksilver 55 (off just 54 deliveries), his ninth score of 50-plus in ODIs, Kenya became the first team to achieve two firsts against Australia in this event: a total 200-plus and batting out their quota of 50 overs.

Some achievements indeed, though McGrath and Gillespie, the leading lights of the Aussie attack were absent. And a gracious Gilchrist didn't bring on Brett Lee and Andy Bichel for a second spell.

That notwithstanding, the Kenyans definitely seemed to have learnt their lessons. They showed lots of pluck in taking on the Aussies in a positive, albeit cautious, way.

After Brijal Patel (42, off 73 deliveries, 5 fours, 1 six), and Steve Tikolo (35, 49 balls, 6 fours) were sent back in quick succession by Shane Warne, by a run out with a direct throw and a leg-before verdict respectively, Kenya's innings may have disintegrated but for Odumbe. Not amongst the runs in this event so far, Odumbe was dropped down to number 7. Perhaps the slight was too much to take, or maybe he thought that the only way to strike form was backing his naturally aggressive instincts.

Whatever, he carved the bowling, and dominated the two partnerships of 42 and 32 respectively with Thomas Odoyo and Collins Obuya. By the time he was eighth out in the 48th over, with Hauritz (career-best return of 4 for 39) having already claimed Collins Obuya earlier in the same over, Kenya were already 195 and almost sure of reaching 200. Hauritz claimed his fourth wicket in the last over by snaring Peter Ongondo caught and bowled, but the Kenyans by then had restored a measure of pride.

Bichel, Lee and Watson gave Kenyans some fright at the beginning, taking three wickets inside 15 overs for 51 runs. Bichel trapped David Obuya leg before for nought in his first over with a lovely leg-cutter. Lee softened up Kamande with blows on the body, following it up with a yorker to get him clean bowled for 5. At 32 for 2, in walked Patel, promoted up the order from No.7, and he handled Lee's pace and swing pretty well. Kennedy Obuya (21, 36 balls) at the other end was wholly unimpressive but rode his luck, until Watson trapped him leg before.

The Kenyans were mindful of not losing wickets in a bunch, and putting a partnership together. Patel and Tikolo did a remarkable recovery job, mixing caution and enterprise in equal measure to add 65 runs for the fourth wicket off 90 deliveries. Having been clouted for a six at mid-wicket by Patel, Warne had his revenge by running him out with a direct throw while the batsman had backed up too far. Next over, Warne trapped Tikolo leg before to send back the two batsmen who had held the innings together. From here on, Odumbe led the Kenyan charge almost all the way to the end.