Irfan Karim and Aman Gandhi yesterday staged a brilliant show against Singapore to give Kenya one of the most solid innings in many years in the ongoing 2020 ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Coach Maurice Odumbe’s decision to start Gandhi in place of experienced Alex Obanda was magical as the youngster proved his mettle and was key in Kenya’s seven wickets win over Singapore.
Wicketkeeper Karim and Gandhi anchored Kenya to victory with an outstanding partnership of 110 runs.
It was a memorable senior debut for Gandhi, who hit a half-century from 46 balls before Amjad Mahboob got him caught in 14.1 overs.
Karim remained unshaken after Gandhi’s dismissal forming partnerships with Dhiren Dondaria 12 (9), Collins Obuya 16 (6) in the chase of Singapore’s 157.
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Karim scored an unbeaten 71 smashing eight boundaries with Rakep Patel completing the job with seven runs from two balls as Kenya hit the target 159 for the loss of three.
Singapore won the toss and elected to bat setting a target of 158 for the Kenyans.
Surendran Chandramohan starred for Singapore with the bat scoring 40 runs off 30 balls with Aritra Dutta adding 33 from an equal number of balls.
Tim David 29 (19), Amanpreet Singh (24(18) and Navin Param 21(10) were also impressive for Singapore ensuring Kenyans work harder in chase of their 157.
Kenyan bowlers started off well as Elijah Otieno got opening batsman Rezza Gaznavi caught on the third ball of the innings.
Gaznavi’s dismissal paved way for Tim David who together with Chandramohan formed a second wicket stand that would see Singapore settle in the game.
Skipper Ngoche broke their partnership in the fifth over setting up David to be caught by Rakep Patel with the score at 36 for the loss of two wickets.
Chandramohan paired up with Dutta for their sides’ most productive partnership of 56 runs before Ngoche finally succeeded in dismissing the former with the score at 92 for three 12.2 overs.
Otieno refused to let Dutta stay longer on the crease getting him caught in the 16th over with the score at 117. Singh and Param would hit hard to add more runs on the Singaporeans scorecard and ensure that Kenya didn’t have an easy chase.
Nelson Ohiambo caught and bowled Param slowing them down.