Tikolo wages lone fight against South Africa

Published: Sunday, October 7, 2001, 23:28 [IST]
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Benoni (South Africa): An inexperienced Kenya struggled against the formidable South African bowling line-up managing just 159 runs for seven wickets in its allotted 50 overs in the triangular One-day series match in Benoni on Sunday. Except for Steve Tikolo, who remained unbeaten on 68, none of the Kenyan batsmen could put up any fight against the South Africans. Kenya, opting to bat first, was severely restricted from scoring after losing its opener Kennedy Otieno off the very first legal ball of the innings. With both Shaun Pollock and Andre Nel bowling a very tight line, Kenya crawled to 27 for one at the 15 over mark. Except for a brief period, when captain Maurice Odumbe and Tikolo were at the crease, the South African bowlers dominated the proceedings. Had it not been for the efforts of Odumbe and Tikolo, who added 55 runs for the fourth wicket, Kenya would have fared worse and was in danger of being shot out within its quota of overs. The two most seasoned campaigners for Kenya batted comfortably and did not look in any kind of trouble. Tikolo, in particular, got into the groove quickly and played some attractive shots on both sides of the wicket. A four by Tikolo in the 23rd over off Kallis brought up the 50 for the team, taking the run rate above two for the first time in the innings. Another four by Tikolo off the next ball, this time worked off the legs to mid-wicket boundary, perked up the sagging spirits of Kenya, which started fancying its chances of a decent score. But, the dismissal of Odumbe in the 32nd over dashed their hopes. Odumbe went for a big hit but was unable to get the elevation and Herschelle Gibbs took a good catch at short mid-wicket off the bowling of Lance Klusener. Odumbe made 24. From there on Tikolo waged a lonely battle as he kept losing partners from the other end. He reached his half-century off 66 balls with the help of six fours. Martin Suji, who made 13, added 28 runs for the sixth wicket with Tikolo before being caught by Gibbs off Makhaya Ntini. The last seven overs saw the addition of just 25 runs to the Kenyan total. Earlier, Pollock, whose first delivery was a no-ball, had Kennedy Otieno caught by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher off the next ball. Otieno failed to score. Ravindu Shah was out in an unfortunate manner, his legs hitting the wicket after he played a straight drive off Ntini in the 16th over when the total was on 27. David Otieno was out eight runs later, caught by Andre Nel off Kallis for 17. That brought Tikolo and Odumbe together in the most fruitful partnership of the innings. The South African bowlers did not experiment much and bowled straight from wicket to wicket, denying any width to the batsmen. Shaun Pollock finished with figures of two for 19 while Ntini claimed two wickets for 25 runs. Klusener, Nel and Kallis took one wicket each.

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