Oluoch stars as Kenya beat Rwanda in ICC Continent Cup

Kenya bowler Lucas Oluoch in action during their ICC Continent Cup T20 Africa match against Rwanda at Nairobi Gymkhana Club. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya edged Rwanda by three wickets with nine balls to spare in their opening match of the 2023 ICC Continent Cup T20 Africa tournament that bowled off at the Nairobi Gymkhana on Friday.

Lucas Oluoch emerged man of the match in the see-saw affair with four wickets in four overs.

The visitors had won the toss and decided to bat first, raking 137 runs for the loss of nine wickets in 20 overs.

In reply, Kenya scored 139 runs, losing seven wickets in their 18.3 overs inning.

Didier Ndikubwimana was the most decorated player on the Rwanda side with 43 runs off 44 balls. He was followed by Oscar Manishimwe (27/14) and Wilson Niyitanga (26/35).

Veteran hard hitter Collins Obuya stood tall for Kenya with 36/27. Rushab Patel (35/20) and Nelson Odhiambo (23/24) were other impressive players to watch from the hosts.

"Bagging the man of the match award has given me the confidence to soldier on in this tournament. I'm hopeful that I will still win more accolades in our remaining eight encounters," Oluoch told Standard Sports.

Kenya's vice captain continued: "I just need to back up myself well, especially on the batting front as today I was poor in that department."

While hailing Oluoch for his brilliant display on the pristine Nairobi Gymkhana pitch, Kenya's captain Rakep Patel said his side bowled really well but was poor in the finishing.

"I think we gave out some easy wickets to the opponents, but we will keep on improving with every match that we take in this tournament," Patel underlined.

"We did not have adequate time to practice for this competition but like wine we will get better and better with every game we take, soon we will be solid."

Patel also praised Rwanda for giving Kenya a run for its money hinting that their opponents is a side to watch in the near future.

"At some point they fell three wickets in a span of two overs, this almost sent us into panic mode," Patel highlighted.

Ahead of their second encounter against Uganda today afternoon, Patel says they are looking for ways to restrict the Pearl of Africa nation that is currently the top side in the tourney.

"The only way to beat the Ugandans is to be mean with our bowling," Patel explained.

Rwanda captain Clinton Rubagumya was pleased with their show against Kenya saying one of the lessons they learnt is that their hosts are beatable. 

"From the match, we got a lot of positives to take home. We narrowly lost to Kenya but we are hopeful to redeem ourselves with  Botswana who we are taking next on Saturday morning," Rubagumya stated.

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