South Africa crushes improved Kenyan side

Published: Monday, October 15, 2001, 3:10 [IST]
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Kimberley: Kenya gave an improved performance but it was not enough to prevent them being outclassed again as South Africa cruised to a nine-wicket win in a triangular Limited Overs series match at De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberly on Sunday. Kenya made a respectable 229 for seven, with three batsmen making half-centuries, and its slow bowlers made the South Africans work reasonably hard before victory was sealed with 8.5 overs to spare. Even though they were thoroughly outplayed, the Kenyans were unrecognisable from the side humiliated by India in Bloemfontein on Friday, when they were bowled out for 90 and India knocked off the runs without losing a wicket in 11.3 overs. Opening batsman Ravindu Shah sparked the Kenyan batting revival by making a stroke- filled 55 off 67 balls with seven fours and a six. Skipper Maurice Odumbe and all- rounder Thomas Odoyo also hit fifties as Kenya made its best total in five matches against South Africa. Odumbe said, "There was an improvement in our batting. We came out with a positive attitude." There was still work to be done on the bowling, though. "Our medium pacers didn't do a good job. We conceded too many runs in the first 15 overs," he said. Herschelle Gibbs hammered 70 off 60 balls in an opening stand of 115 with Boeta Dippenaar, thrashing 14 boundaries, but the scoring slowed as Dippenaar and Lance Klusener were tied down by the slow bowlers, with leg spinner Collins Otieno and off spinner Odumbe bowling steadily. Klusener opened up towards the end, however, to finish with 75 not out off 74 balls, while Dippenaar made a more cautious 74 not out off 118 deliveries. Kenya seemed to be sliding towards familiar territory as it lost its first two wickets for 18 runs but Shah and Steve Tikolo (29) put on 64 for the third wicket off just 70 balls. After Shah was caught at backward point when he top-edged a cut against left-arm spinner Nicky Boje, Odumbe and Odoyo shared their country's first century partnership against South Africa. Odumbe and Odoyo put on 114 before both lost their wickets in the chase for quick runs towards the end of the innings. Odumbe played across a full-length delivery from new cap Charl Langeveldt after hitting 60 off 94 balls with four fours and Odoyo missed a slower ball from South African captain Shaun Pollock. Odoyo scored 53, his first international half-century, off 65 balls with four fours. Kenya's performance, after it won the toss and batted on an excellent pitch, was just what was wanted by former South African coach Bob Woolmer, appointed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to help Kenya and other non-Test nations prepare for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Woolmer, who joined the Kenyans in Bloemfontein, attended the team's net practice in Kimberley on Saturday. He said before Sunday's game, "At the moment there is a lack of confidence in the players when they play against the top sides, which they don't do very often. There is no lack of ability but it is a matter of trying to help them become more competitive." There was more of Woolmer's influence to be seen as opening bowlers Martin Suji and Odoyo both mixed slower balls with their quicker deliveries. But with Gibbs in top form, they took a hammering. Gibbs survived a hard chance on nine when he was dropped at backward point by Collins Otieno off Odoyo. Left-arm spinner Brijal Patel took the only wicket when Gibbs sliced a catch to Otieno at backward point but he was surprisingly taken off after bowling only two overs and only returned to the attack when a South African win was assured. Odumbe sent down three maiden overs and conceded only 21 runs off his first eight overs. He had Klusener dropped at slip by Shah. It proved a costly lapse for the Kenyan skipper as Klusener hammered him for five successive boundaries in his ninth over. Extras:
I am fit, injury wasn't serious, says Das

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