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Massive upset as Kenyans beat Indians by 70 runs

Without a win in the Standard Bank Series and without their captain, Kenya lit up St George's Park on Wednesday night with a quite astonishing 70-run victory over India

Peter Robinson
Without a win in the Standard Bank Series and without their captain, Kenya lit up St George's Park on Wednesday night with a quite astonishing 70-run victory over India.
It was, without doubt, one of the three greatest moments in the history of Kenyan cricket, following the 1996 World Cup upset of the West Indies and the 69-run win against India in Gwalior in 1998.
It was a victory achieved against all expectations and, although one hesitates to use the term in the match-fixing era, against all the odds. The Kenyans played out of their skins, none more so than Joseph Angara who took the new ball, did not concede a run off his first four overs and fitted in the most prized wicket in cricket, that of Sachin Tendulkar for 3, during his opening spell.
Angara was to come back into the attack later to snaffle Jacob Martin and Reetinder Singh Sodhi and effectively snuff out India's last remaining hopes and he finished with three for 30 to claim the man of the match award. But it was much more than a one-man show with most of the Kenyans contributing in one way or another.
Last Friday Kenya had been bowled out by India for just 90 as they lost to India by 10 wickets in a match which failed to stretch to half of the game's allotted 100 overs. On Sunday their batting improved against South Africa, but they still lost by nine wickets and they had to go into Wednesday's game sans captain Maurice Odumbe, banned for two matches for remarks made about umpire Dave Orchard.
The Kenyans were perilously close to losing all credibility, but they batted well to reach 246 for six with Kennedy Otieno (64), Ravindu Shah (50) and Thomas Odoyo (51) all reaching the half-century mark.
The Indians were loose in the field, giving the impression that they thought all they had to do to win was to get to St George's Park on time. Still, few would have betted against their dazzling top order failing to reach the target, but the innings simply did not get going.
Tendulkar was out in the sixth over, Sourav Ganguly (24) and Martin (36) both looked to have played themselves in before getting out, but as often as India tried to get up, Kenya kept on knocking them down again.
Tony Suji accounted for Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh with successive balls and there was a quite magnificent catch from Collins Otieno, diving, one-handed low to his right at point, to get rid of Sodhi and although the Kenyans contrived to drop no fewer than four catches as the ball swirled in the air late in the innings, they had still had enough to spare to win quite comfortably.
In point of fact, Kenya's fielding went to pieces a little in the last 10 overs as they seemed to panic as the prospect of victory loomed. They also had more cause for complaint about Orchard who once again failed to call for a television replay which would have shown him that Harbhajan Singh had been run out by a direct hit.
As well Kenya played overall, though, it cannot be stressed enough how poor were India. They rested three players - Virender Sehwag, Javagal Srinath and Ajit Agarkar, but, more importantly, they seemed to have left their competitive spirit back in the team hotel.
Kenya's win will have done wonders for their cricket. It has also brought a Summer Spice Series, which was starting to verge too close to predictability for comfort, back to life. Certainly, when Kenya play again in Cape Town against South Africa on Monday, this win should assure a crowd somewhere near close to capacity.
Ganguly was at a loss to explain what went wrong afterwards. "It's difficult to find reasons for losing," he said, adding a little later that he hoped "it's a kick in the backside for us".
"We played poor cricket for 100 overs," said Ganguly. "All credit to them. They batted well and fielded brilliantly apart from a few missed catches."
Steve Tikolo, the acting captain, was "over the moon. This is right up there with the West Indies win in the World Cup."
The Kenyans had done it, he said, for their missing captain and manager Mehmood Quraishy who is in hospital awaiting heart surgery.