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Kenya forced to grind to regain initiative

Kenya after 4 days of unusually difficult and to some extent self inflicted labour finally ground out a win against a stubborn and a t times plucky UAE in the second of their two intercontinental cup matches in Sharjah. Having been undone by the superhuman efforts of a certain Gerry Snyman only a few days before and having suffered a stunning collapse batting fourth it was no surprise that when Steve Tikolo won the toss he opted to have first go at a pitch that has a reputation for being good to spinners.

However having made that decision the gremlins that have been following Kenya’s top order of late started to show again as David Obuya was already back in the pavillion with only two runs on the scoreboard and even though the second and third wicket partnerships put on 39 and 77 runs respectively, Kenya lost the wickets of Steve Tikolo (63), Tony Suji (3), and Alex Obanda (39) almost in quick succession to Kenya on 126/5 and with Collins Obuya already missing the game due to injury it seemd as though the UAE were set to dismiss Kenya for a sub-par 1st innings total. However, like has become so adept at doing of late, Thomas Odoyo took control of the situation, first of all with the aid of James Kamande(43), putting 121 runs for the sixth wicket to see Kenya through the rest of the days play, and then by farming the strike when left with the tail to get his second career First Class ton and see Kenya to a competitive 326 all out when he was last man out.

Thomas Odoyo on his way to his second First Class century.

Thomas Odoyo’s century was central to Kenya’s 1st innings total…

Then came the turn of UAE to bat and having seen off the early pressure of Kenya’s new look new ball partnership of Peter Ongondo and Elijah Otieno, to get the score to 67 without loss they were quickly unravelled by the spin of Hiren Varaiya, losing three wickets to slide to 78/3 before Steve Tikolo and Jimmy Kamande joined the action to further reduce the Arabians to 137/7. And altopugh the tail did put up some resistace they eventually surrendered a 109 run first innings lead finishing 224 all out with Amjad Ali, not out on 52 being their highest scorer. Hiren Varaiya collecting yet another 5 wickets to cross the 50 First Class wicket magin in only two years playing the national team

Having bowled themselves into a strong advantage early on day three Kenya almost batted themselves out of the game sliding to a paltry 171 all out with Morris Ouma’s quickfire 41 and James Kamande hard earned 62 the only resistance. Khurram Khan ran right through the Kenyan Batting order claiming 4 scalps and giving the UAE an opening with 274 runs standing between them and victoryand a whole day’s play still to come. However this was as close to victory as the UAE were going to get as Peter Ongondo, Elijah Otieno, and Thomas Odoyo joined forces to crash right through the Arabians batting order claiming 9 of the ten wickets to fall (Ongondo finishing with figure of 5-30) to see Kenya home to a 81 run win.

With the win secured Kenya climb back to the top of the Intercontinental cup table on 66 points after 4 matches with Namibia second on 48 points, the Netherlands third on 34 points and Ireland, who cans still go top if they win their next two matches, fourth on 29 points.

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