Samuels and Gayle star in WI win

Hosts West Indies secured a 21-run win over Kenya in the opening round of warmup matches at the 2007 World Cup. Riding on big scores by Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle, the West Indies posted 268-5, and it was too far out of the reach of the Kenyans.

Before the game, memories turned back to Kenya’s dramatic upset victory at the 1996 tournament. And though the West Indies were less-than-convincing on this occasion, Brian Lara’s men achieved a positive result.

Samuels continued his rich vein of batting form, seemingly casting bookmaker controversies behind him. The right-hander scored 100 from 91 balls before retiring out, allowing 19-year-old Kieron Pollard (14) to get time in the middle for the first time for the West Indies. Earlier it was Samuels’ Jamaican teammate who dominated proceedings. Chris Gayle scored 75 at the top of the order, proving crucial after the early loss of Shivnarine Chanderpaul for a duck.

Devon Smith followed 58 runs later for a contribution of 14. It allowed Samuels to join Gayle at the crease for the most substantial partnership of the innings – 70 for the third wicket. On his return to the West Indies team, Ramnaresh Sarwan scored 27 and allrounder Dwayne Smith batted for an unbeaten 22.

Only Thomas Odoyo – 2 for 26 – among the Kenyan bowlers functioned with outstanding impact, though the West Indies never totally dominated proceedings. A score of 268-5 was made to look far more secure by Daren Powell and Corey Collymore. Three early blows set Kenya back at 58-3.

Ravindu Shah (41) and Steve Tikolo (34) recovered the situation, and Collins Obuya later scored an impressive 54 not out, but Kenya struggled to keep pace with the required run rate. Powell (2-23) and Collymore (2-42) had shared the top order spoils, and Ian Bradshaw and Jerome Taylor were kept wicketless.

Pollard was the other main wicket-taker, but his two wickets came at an expensive price of 56 runs. The final wicket of the game was that of Odoyo (25), and it was Samuels who rightly claimed the success, rounding off a superb game. Kenya closed on 247-7, marking a creditable showing to open their campaign.

West Indies 268-5
Marlon Samuels 100 retired out, Chris Gayle 75
Thomas Odoyo 2-26, Hiren Varaiya 2-53

Kenya 247-7
Collins Obuya 54*, Ravi Shah 41, Steve Tikolo 34
Daren Powell 2-23, Corey Collymore 2-40

West Indies won by 21 runs.

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