KENYA MISS TARGET: Obuya and company suffer seven-wicket loss to Nepal in World League match
Kenya's hopes of going third in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Championships (WCLC) standings hit a snag after they lost by seven wickets to Nepal.
Batting was once again Kenya's main undoing as their hosts capitalised on their struggle with the bat. This kept thousands of their supporters on their feet in the duel yesterday at the Tribhuvan University Oval in Kirtipur.
The defeat was a blow to Kenya's hopes of a top-four finish, which will earn them a place in the 2019 World Cup qualifiers to be held in Bangladesh, in March 2018.
Kenya are now level (1-1) with Nepal, but remain stuck in fifth place with 10 points, six below leaders Netherlands.
Papua New Guinea are second with 12, while Hong Kong are third with 11 points, same as fourth-placed Scotland, who enjoy a superior net run rate.
Praying not to fall twice at home, the homeboys' prayers seemed to have reached the gods of cricket, who blessed them with the toss that came with the liberty to choose whether to bat or bowl first. They elected to field, restricting their guests before finally bowling them out 155 in 46.1 overs.
Kenya once again started on a wrong footing as Alex Obanda was stumped at 3.3 overs to put Kenya's score at 14 for the loss of one wicket. Obanda scored nine runs from 13 deliveries and was the only Kenyan to score a maximum.
Kenya's top order was not steady as Mahaboob Alam got Dhiren Gondaria stumped on a duck on the third ball.
Veteran Collins Obuya, who was Kenya's best batsman of the match, formed a third wicket stand with Irfan Karim that garnered 79 runs. Obuya scored 48 off 78 that included seven boundaries before he was stumped in the 28th over.
Karim 38 (77), Rakep Patel 21(33), Karan Kaul 14(43) and Nehemiah Odhiambo 15 not out were the only Kenyans to achieve the double digit figure, while Shem Ngoche and Nelson Odhiambo were dismissed on ducks.
Sharad Vesawkar was the mastermind of Kenya's downfall with four wickets for 28 runs. Alam 2/11, Basant Regmi 2/24, Sagar Pun 1/19 and Sandeep Lamichhane 1/35 destroyed Kenya's plan with their impressive bowling skills.
In their innings, Nepalese skipper Gyanendra Malla led from the front, scoring 64 runs not out as the home side eased to their first victory against Kenya in the 50-overs version of the game.
Dipendra Airee, 17, was near perfect, scoring 62 off 66, hitting eight boundaries and a six in his stay at the crease before obuya got him caught.