Canada 199 for 5 (Hansra 70, Bagai 64*) beat Kenya 198 (Mishra 51, Odoyo 51, Osinde 4-26) by five wickets
Canada won only their second World Cup match in four tournaments, beating Kenya in a low-profile, low-scoring scrap, and walked away from the Feroz Shah Kotlawith with bragging rights. Jimmy Hansra and Ashish Bagai put on 132 – Canada’s fifth highest one-day partnership – to steer the chase on a slow subcontinent surface, in the fourth successive match in which a tough track was served up in a World Cup widely expected to be a runfest.
Quick bowler Henry Osinde was Canada’s hero in the afternoon, as he ripped through the top order to leave Kenya gasping at 57 for 5 after 15 overs. Kenya, though, just about achieved their captain Jimmy Kamande’s goal of playing out 50 overs; gutsy half-centuries from Tanmay Mishra and Thomas Odoyo acting as the bedrock of what was their best batting performance of the tournament.
Osinde was getting the ball to swerve a touch at the start, and that provided him with a wicket off the second delivery of the match, when Maurice Ouma was drawn towards the ball and edged it to slip as he belatedly tried to leave. Seren Waters, the promising opener, was next to go, playing down the wrong line to be bowled for 2. David Obuya became Osinde’s third victim, nicking to the keeper as Kenya slid to 21 for 3.
There was more trouble for Kenya when a horrible swipe ended Collins Obuya’s promising innings, and their most experienced player Steve Tikolo was adjudged lbw though replays suggested there was an inside-edge. Mishra and Kamande then put on the first of two reviving half-century stands. Just as the partnership started to gather momentum, legspinner Balaji Rao struck, getting Kamande caught behind for 22.
Mishra continued to grind it out, holding the innings together with a carefully constructed knock – 33 of his 51 runs were singles. His second significant stand was with Thomas Odoyo, who was far more aggressive, launching the ball through the off side or down the ground when it was pitched up.
The pair added 57 before Mishra perished in the 43rd over; Kenya missing a trick by not choosing the batting Powerplay when the two were together. That meant there was no big flourish at the death, and Kenya were bowled out on the final delivery by an inch-perfect yorker from Harvir Baidwan.
The chase began with the promoted Rizwan Cheema giving another short exhibition of his everything-must-go batting philosophy. He survived a first-ball lbw decision, and then whacked two fours and a six before he was bowled attempting yet another agricultural swipe. Kenya kept it tight after that on a pitch where the ball was keeping low, before the game sparked to life.
First, Zubin Surkari was run out by a direct hit from Kamande in the 10th over, then Ruvindu Gunasekara crunched a couple of driven boundaries, before he was reprieved by Nehemiah Odhiambo, who shelled a hard caught-and-bowled chance. Gunasekara didn’t build on that, though, as two balls later he was bizarrely stumped, after beginning to take a run when the ball was in the keeper’s gloves. The new batsman Hansra popped a dolly to mid-on off the second ball he faced, but that too was dropped, by Waters. In a match that was littered with poor fielding, this was the poorest miss, and it proved to be a pivotal one. Hansra celebrated the let-off with two boundaries in the over.
Things became sedate again after that phase, with Hansra and Bagai mainly taking the singles on a surface which was helping the spinners. Hansra brought out the big hit occasionally but Bagai was very subdued, striking only one boundary in his first 64 deliveries. Kenya started to flag as the partnership blossomed, and though there were some half-chances, Canada picked off the many freebies offered to stay firmly on course for victory.
Bagai started to open up as the target neared and though Hansra was dismissed with the win 19 away, Canada got their with plenty to spare to maintain their recent dominance of Kenya.
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