After 16-year absence from world stage, Kenya finds going tough against giants South Africa.
Kenya succumbed to a 169 runs loss to giants South Africa in their opening match of the International Cricket Council 2018 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
This was the first time in 16 years that Kenya was featuring at the global biennial event that ushers upcoming cricketers to the big stage.
Being the lowest ranked team in the tournament and coming up against the former champions and current top ODI nation, the Kenyan boys new too well they had to give their all.
Despite the loss national team coach Jimmy Kamande said the boys had gained from the match. “Though we lost, I think the boys expressed themselves well and fought hard. It wasn’t easy playing against them.
"We lacked in batting and our partnerships were not strong and gave away easy wickets but we will work on that and hopefully we can get partnerships of 70 plus in our subsequent matches,” Kamande said on phone from New Zealand.
Jasraj Kundi staged an all-round performance to emerge Kenya’s best player in the match scoring 41 runs off 53 balls and taking two wickets for 49. Jayant Mepani took two wickets for 60 while Captain Sachin Bhudia, Gerald Mwendwa and Abhishek Chidambaran took one wicket each.
Bowling first, the Kenyan boys had started off well as Bhudia bowled Matthew Breetzke to put South Africa’s score at 10 for the loss of one wicket at the end of the third over.
However, they failed to maintain the momentum and South Africa captain Raynard Van Tonder and opening batsman Jiveshan Pillay capitalised to push their score to over a century.
The duo put up a solid second wicket stand of 125 before Abhishek got Pillay caught for a score of 135 for 2 in 21.5 overs. Van Tonder’s third wicket stand with Hermann Rolfes that lasted 41 minutes was also impressive, but Mwendwa got him caught by Aman Gandhi putting South Africa’s score at 198 for the loss of three wickets in 33.1 overs.
The Kenyans then tightened their fielding and secured two quick wickets as Kundi trapped Wandile Makwetu leg before at 211 for 4 and Mepani bowled Jason Niemand at 226 for the loss of five wickets in 40.1 overs. Van Tonder remained firm as the Kenyan bowlers tried all tricks in the book to get him off the crease in vain.
Mepani finally got it right, sending him off the crease after he had scored 143 off 121 with South Africa’s score at 276 for 7 after the 47th over. Jade de Klerk (28) and Coetzee (36) not out pushed their score to unattainable 341 for 7.
Kenya’s chase was dented after the top order collapsed. Gandhi (14), Ankit Hirani (35) Bhudia (19) Thomas Ochieng (18) scored for Kenya as they settled for 172 for 7 in their innings.