Cape Town: Giant-killers Canada's dreams of a second World Cup win at this year's tournament were finally snuffed out by Kenya under the Newlands floodlights on Saturday.Despite Ian Billcliff's 71, the first One-day International fifty by a Canadian and South Australia off spinner John Davison's superb spell of three for 15 in his 10 permitted overs, Kenya still won by four wickets. It was another fine performance in the field by Canada, the last of the 14 teams to qualify for the tournament after finishing third on home soil in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy event for minor nations in Toronto last year.
But whereas its bowlers had helped it beat Bangladesh, a Test nation, by 60 runs after it had been dismissed for just 180 three days earlier in Durban, it could not quite pull off the same trick twice when defending a total of 197 against Kenya. However, the Canadians made the Africans fight all the way in a gutsy display before Thomas Odoyo's unbeaten 27 saw Kenya home with nine balls to spare. Ravindu Shah looked to be guiding Kenya to a comfortable victory, making a stylish 61 before he chipped a catch off burly paceman Sanjayan Thuraisingam to mid-on to leave the Africans 116 for three in the 31st over. Shah's 95 ball innings included nine fours.
Together with Kenya captain Steve Tikolo, he put on 84 for the second wicket after Thuraisingam had opener Kennedy Otieno play on for four. Tikolo, long regarded as Kenya's best batsman, justified that status with a stylish 42 from just 49 balls before he was lbw to Davison. The loss of Tikolo and Shah in the space of 17 runs left Kenya with two fresh batsmen at the crease and gave Canada new hope. And when the economical Davison struck again to have the dangerous Maurice Odumbe lbw sweeping for 26, Kenya was wobbling at 148 for four.
More fine work from Davison saw Hitesh Modi snapped up at slip for six to leave Kenya on 154 for five. Earlier Billcliff's battling knock was the cornerstone of Canada's innings, which lasted 49 overs after its captain Joseph Harris had won the toss and elected to bat. Billcliff, 30, who has first-class experience from spells with New Zealand sides Otago, Auckland and Wellington, faced 100 balls including two sixes and eight fours before he was fifth man out with the score on 158 after being bowled by Tony Suji. Kenya's bowlers were initially on top, taking three early wickets and staunching the flow of runs. Unlike Bangladesh, Kenya is not a full Test-playing nation although it does have full One-day International status and is considered next in line for elevation to the five-day game.