Kenya make dream start: Odumbe launches coaching career with victory against Tikolo’s Uganda

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Sunday, July 8th 2018 at 00:11 GMT +3 | Cricket
Kenya's Batsman Dhiren Gondaria during quadrangular Cricket Tournament at Nairobi Gympkana on Wednesday, Sept 28, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Kenya began the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2020 World Cup Africa B qualifiers on a high with a four-wicket win over rivals Uganda yesterday at Gahanga Cricket Stadium in Kigali.

All eyes were on Kenya’s finest cricketers of all time Maurice Odumbe and Steve Tikolo who came face to face for the first time in 13 years not as players but as coaches for rival sides.

However, after hours of battling, it was Odumbe who carried the day with a win over Uganda’s Tikolo and it means Odumbe made his appointment as national team count with victory in his first major assignment.

He took over from Thomas Odoyo who resigned after Kenya performed dismally leading to demotion to Division Three.

After electing to field, the Kenyan bowlers seemed to be having a bad day in office as Uganda hit 240 for the loss of three wickets in their innings.

Ugandan opening pair of captain Roger Mukasa and Hamu Kayondo steadied their hunt for runs with Mukasa scoring 25 runs off 13 balls before he was bowled out by Lucas Oluoch with their score at 38 after 3.1 overs.

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Ronak Patel formed a second wicket stand with Kayondo but Pushpak Kerai cut short the latter’s stay on the crease in 6.6 overs for a score 73 for two.

Ronak did not last either as Emmanuel Bundi trapped him leg before with Uganda still at 73.

It was Uganda’s fourth wicket stand of Dinesh Nakran and Riazat Shah that proved to be the pain in the neck of Kenyans as they scored runs at will.

Nakrani and Shah were outstanding as they tormented the Kenyans with an unbeaten partnership of 162.

Nakrani cracked the edge 14 times for eight boundaries and six sixes for a total of 88 runs off 42 deliveries. Shah on the other hand hit 74 off 35 balls hit among them eight boundaries and three sixes to set a seemingly unattainable 240 for Kenya to chase in their innings.

In reply, youngster Dhiren Gondaria was on fire as Kenya put up a spirited fight in their innings in hunt for victory. Gondaria was in a class of his own coming short of hitting a century by ten runs.

His 46-ball 90 set Kenya on path to victory as the Ugandans worked hard to dismiss him.

After many failed attempts, Waiswa siblings got it right as Charles Waiswa set him up to be caught by his younger brother Kenneth.

At the time of his dismissal, Gondaria in the 16th over, had smashed seven sixes and five boundaries to put Kenya’s score at 196 for the loss of five wickets.

Opener Alex Obanda 35 (17), former captain 31 (20), veteran Collins Obuya 29 (12) were also impressive for Kenya with the bat.

Skipper Shem Ngoche 25 and Oluoch 15 completed the job as Kenya scored 241 for 6 to win by four wickets with three balls to spare.

Today, Odumbe will be seeking his second victory against hosts Rwanda in clash against another Kenyan great and former teammate Martin Suji.

Suji was appointed Rwanda’s national team coach and will be seeking to impress his employer and a win against Kenya will be a better way of proving his worth.