Having won the Intercontinental cup clash at a canter, thanks to big performances from Odoyo, Obanda, and especially Kamande who overcame the pain inflicted from a mugging only two days before to take 4 First innings wickets, Kenya came into this game on a high and looking to extend their dominance over Canada in the shorter version of the game. Despite reports that Peter Ongondo, one of Kenya’s most reliable pacemen of recent times would miss out on the OD matches due to injury it was widely expected Kenya would still be the favourites and his absence would very likely grant Alfred Luseno a chance to impress the selectors following his 1 year exile.
The selectors however chose to go with the youth of Elijah Otieno and th experience of Lameck Onyango over Luseno’s extra pace and as soon as the game got going The young Otieno opening the bowling alongside Thomas Odoyo got his first ODI wicket removing Mohammed Iqbal of his first delivery. However he, as well as fellow seamer Nehemiah Odhiambo, leaked runs at high enormous rates and though the Canadian batsmen were equally generous with their wickets it was largely the introduction of the offspin of Tikolo and Kamande late into the powerplay overs with Canada at 101/3 that really put some breaks on proceedings. In fact so effective was the spin of Kamande that at the end of his spell of 10-0-32-1 almost 20 overs later Canada had only managed to put on 52 runs and had in the process lost a further 3 wickets. And although the return of the fast bowlers meant that the Canadians were able to build some momentum goin into the slog overs the inability of all but Arvind Kandappah to stay at the crease for any extended period of time meant Canada’s innings ended two overs short of their allocated 50 on 230 all out
While Kenya had been set a none too challenging score 230 was still ‘defendable’ and any mistakes from the Kenyan’s could have been costly. At the start of th reply Kenya’s openers opted to hit out at everything the Canadian bowlers threw at them and by the 5tth over all of Kenya’s 31 runs had come off either boundaries or wides and this hit out at all costs almost fell apart when first Obuya, then Nehamiah Odhiambo, then Ouma and Finally Steve Tikolo were sent packing in three overs of madness that sent Kenya from 31/0 to 41/4. adn when Collins Obuya fell lbw a few overs later it seemed the Canadians were going to win the game a a canter, However Thomas Odoyo had other ideas and with the calm headed Alex Obanda for company the rebuiling process began with the two adding an important 86 for the sixth wicket before Obanda lost his wicket trying to accelerate the scoring rate having scored 30 off 91 deliveries.
At this point Odoyo who had just crossed the 50 mark himself upped the ante and with Jimmy Kamande he was not only able to blast his way to a second consecutive unbeaten century against the Canadians, he was able to rally Kenya to a victory which at one point seemd dead and buried with one and a half overs to spare.
So with victory only just assured Kenya await Sunday’s rematch again at the Gymkhana looking to seal the series win while Canada will be heartened by their ablilty to rattle Kenya early on and will most probably consider themselves more than capable of tying he series.