Kenya Finally Beat Afghanistan In UAE

Kenyan batsman drives
Kenya's series of matches against Afghanistan reads played 5, won 1, lost 4.

Kenya 149-4 (Obuya 60no) beat
Afghanistan 115-8 (Otieno 3-16) by 34 runs
Second T20 International, Sharjah

Kenya finally won a match in their otherwise dreadful series of games against Afghanistan in the UAE. Having been thrashed in the opening T20 International at the end of last month, then both World Cricket League Championship matches, and the ICC Intercontinental Cup fixture, they have now finally tasted victory at the final attempt. Tonight’s 34-run win earns them a share of the spoils in the two-match T20 series.

Captain Collins Obuya set up the win with an unbeaten 60 off 49 balls at the top of the order, adding 87 with surprise opener Nehemiah Odhiambo. Afghanistan then never really threatened their target of 150 and ended on 115 for eight as Elijah Otieno led the bowling attack with three for 16 and Obuya chipped in with a couple of wickets with his leg-spin.

Kenya desperately needed a win to boost their morale ahead of next month’s T20 qualifier and to do so against a team who have been universally feted throughout the cricketing world over the past week will be most welcome. What’s more, Afghanistan fielded their first-choice eleven.

Kenya, though, have struggled to bring through young players in recent times and it was again left to two experienced hands to see them to victory tonight. 32 year-old Obuya and 30 year-old Odhiambo put on 87 in 60 balls for the first-wicket, with the rest of the batsmen then not really contributing as the final 10 overs of the innings yielded only 62 runs for the loss of three wickets.

The normally potent Afghan bowling attack was unusually lacklustre, with spearhead Hamid Hassan conceding 39 runs from his four overs and only Mohammad Nabi demonstrating anything approaching his best form, going for only 14 runs from his four overs.

Afghanistan’s batting, without doubt their weaker suit, then folded miserably as it occasionally does. Mohammad Shahzad hit four boundaries during his breezy, but all too brief, stay at the crease, with former captain Nawroz Mangal the only player to prosper. He hit three sixes during his 36 off 23 balls, but was given precious little support.

Elijah Otieno returned career-best figures of three for 16 from his four overs, while left-arm spinners Hiren Varaiya (1-12) and Shem Ngoche (1-19) were mightily effective and returned combined figures of 8-1-31-2.

© Cricket World 2013