By Mutwiri Mutuota
Heroic second innings efforts by debutant teenager, Seren Waters and right-hand batsman, Jimmy Kamande were not enough to save Kenya from defeat to Ireland in their four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match.
The hosts needed to bat all day and draw the tie, a result that would have seen them face Namibia in the cup final in South Africa, but went down by an innings and 65 runs at the Nairobi Gymkhana yesterday.
However, it was not to be after Ireland, who had forced the follow-on after dismissing Kenya for 186 all out in the first innings, got the eight wickets they wanted to reach the decider.
The final wicket of Peter Ongondo fell in the last hour of play after he was caught leg before from the bowling of Regan West with 13 overs to spare.
But after Kenya’s capitulation in the first innings where they had been set an imposing total of 578, the hosts enjoyed better play in the follow-on.
Waters, 18, and captain Steve Tikolo, who steadied the ship at the end of day three, resumed on the last day with the score standing 72 for two.
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The teenager who hit 11 fours saw his resistance ended with 75 on the board by Trent Johnson, who took four wickets in the innings to leave Kenya hanging by a thread at 164 for five.
Kennedy Obuya (26, caught by Boyd Rankin), Alex Obanda (4, lbw) and Tikolo (47, caught and bowled) had perished earlier under the charge of the Irish right medium pace bowler.
The partnership of Rakep Patel (32) and Thomas Odoyo (61) offered Kenya hope of seeing out the day.
Rankin claimed the wicket of Patel (caught by Niall O’Brien) and in stepped Kamande to the crease with Kenya at 238 for six.
The 29 year-old fast medium bowler seemed to understand the task at hand and stroked an unbeaten 42 not out as he battled to frustrate the Irish.
Kamande faced 142 balls and with 30 minutes to the end of the match that would have earned Kenya an improbable draw, he watched as the last wicket of Ongondo who had scored with a boundary fell lbw to West.
Kenya were 327 all out at the end of play, 65 runs short of forcing Ireland to the crease.
In total, West claimed three wickets and Andre Botha two as the Irish marched on to the Intercontinental final.