Kiwis cruise past Kenya

Fifties from Stephen Fleming, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris and Craig McMillan helped New Zealand to an easy win against Kenya. On a day when the Blackcaps never really got out of 2nd gear, solid performances by virtually all of New Zealand’s batsmen were enough to post a score of 331 for 7. That was then followed by a committed effort with the ball as James Franklin, Daniel Vettori and Michael Mason all took 2 wickets. Their efforts were further supported by some brilliant fielding which produced 3 run outs.

Yet the day started so promisingly for Kenya. In the first over of the match an excellent outswinger from Thomas Odoyo removed Lou Vincent for a duck. Odoyo then went on to trouble Fleming and Taylor with some lovely medium pace bowling. The progress in the early overs was slow, and Fleming, clearly searching for form, attempted to brake the shackles with a number of vicious pull shots.

However, as his innings progressed he started to play some of his more delightful shots. A sumptuous straight drive for four, and a superb cover drive seemed to have heralded a return to his best, just as Ross Taylor started to flower at the other end. However, with the run rate nearly up to 5 an over, a suicidal single to short fine leg cut short Fleming’s innings as he was run out for 60.

Styris joined Taylor and the pair set about maintaining the pressure that Fleming had placed upon the Kenyans. When faced with Kenya’s battallion of slower bowlers which had proven so effective against Kenya. The pair accumulated easily against Jimmy Kamande and Steve Tikolo. Taylor in particular gradually built momentum, and once he reached 50, pressed on with a number of trademark swipes and drives. Only a hamstring injury could slow down his assault. His movement inhibited, Taylor was dismissed tamely chipping back a half volley from Tikolo, for 85.

McMillan joined the party and maintained his belligerent attitude of recent months. He and Styris raised the intensity once more, as the final slog overs approached. Six after six was struck as the run rate began to balloon out. While Styris’ dismissal, caught off the bowling of Lameck Onyango, temporarily haulted the charge, McMillan renewed the assault, bringing up his 50 in 37 balls, even as fellow hitters Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum fell about him.

Only Odoyo escaped the assault, finishing with brilliant figures of 2 for 55. However he received precious little support, and event though McMillan eventually fell in the last over for an entertaining 71, his job was long done. A brace of boundaries to Vettori then lifted the score to 331.

In reply, Kenya’s innings didn’t start well. Davod Obuya was given out to a questionable leg before decision from a Michael Mason yorker. Maurice Ouma was then run out trying a quick single against the arm of Lou Vincent. Tikolo then skied a short ball from Mason to mid off, before Tanmay Mishra completed the catch when Brendon McCullum and Stephen Fleming teamed up to catch an edge off the bowling of James Franklin. By that stage the score had slumped to 29 for 4, and despite the odd shower threatening play, the result of the match was never in any doubt afterwards.

Collins Obuya however joined Ravi Shah, as the pair set about rescuing Kenya from embarrassment. A solid 47 run partnership went someway to doing that. Shah in particular, after starting nervously, began to play some class shots. However the recovery was curtailed by a dreadful mix up, which left both batsmen standing at the same end.

Thomas Odoyo then followed up his superb bowling efforts with a solid showing with the bat. However, with the departure of Shah, chipping back a simple caught and bowled to Daniel Vettori, interest in the encounter faded. Kenya’s tail, propped up by Odoyo, was gradually removed as Vettori and Franklin both received boosts to their averages. The minnow nation was finally dismissed in the last over of the innings for 183. The result means New Zealand have now qualified for the super eight, while Kenya will realise they’ll have to lift their game if they entertain any notion of upsetting England and making the next round.

New Zealand 331-7
Ross Taylor 85, Craig McMillan 71, Scott Styris 63, Stephen Fleming 60
Thomas Odoyo 2-55, Peter Ongondo 2-64

Kenya 183
Ravi Shah 71, Thomas Odoyo 42
James Franklin 2-20, Michael Mason 2-29, Daniel Vettori 2-45

New Zealand won by 148 runs

Cricket Web Player of the Match – Ross Taylor 85 (107)

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Benedict Goodchild