'Happy' birthday coach

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 26, 2015
  • Nehemiah Odhiambo was one of the best players in Kenya's five-wicket loss to UAE. (SNA File Photo)

Steve Tikolo's 44th birthday The Kenya cricket team had hoped to give their coach Steve Tikolo a memorable birthday present by winning their first match at the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Southampton, England.

But, the prolific batsman turned coach who led the team with success as a player for over 20 years was disappointed after Kenya lost by five wickets to United Arab Emirates in the opening match of the ICC World Cricket League championship at the Rose Bowl, Southampton.

Amjad Ali and Swapnil Patil made crucial knocks as UAE ended what would have been a great birthday present. UAE struggled early in their chase of 171 as they were reduced to 42 for 2 after 10 overs but Ali (49) and Patil (38) shared 66 runs for the fourth wicket to repair the innings before Mohammed Shahzad (27 not out) and Amjad Javed (28 not out) took them home with 50 balls to spare.

It was a hard-earned victory for UAE as they had to build their innings brick-by-brick after early loss of wickets. Credit must also be given to the bowlers, especially opener Mohammed Naveed who returned with brilliant figures of 4/36 from 8.5 overs to help UAE restrict Kenya to 171 all out in 40.5 overs.

UAE lost Qais Farooq early to Lucas Oluoch for four before Amjad Ali and Saqib Ali added on 27 for the second wicket to get their side to 36 for 2 after 6.4 overs. Nelson Mandela struck twice to remove Saqib Ali (16) and Shaiman Anwar (2) to leave them on 42 for 3.

Patil played a solid innings

From here, Amjad Ali played the role of sheet anchor till he was out in the 29th over having hit nine fours off 88 balls. Patil played a solid innings of 38 off 67 balls which was laced with five boundaries.

Shahzad and Javed then brought Kenya’s hopes of first win in the campaing with an unbroken sixth wicket stand of 54 runs as UAE scored 173 for five from 41.4 overs.

Earlier, Nehemiah Odhiambo struck a stroke-filled half century to take Kenya to their total after the top order failed to sparkle. Coming in with the scoreboard at 70 for 5, Odhiambo added on 65 with Mandela to give Kenya’s inning some lifeline after bad start that had seen Kenya loss three wickets for 31 runs.

Odhiambo who was making a comeback in the team rose to the occasion with a stroke-filled 62 off 77 balls that included seven fours before he was  bowled by Naveed in the 41st over. Mandela had scored 24 runs off 37 balls before was also bowled by Mohammad Taufiq.

Collins Obuya managed to post Kenya’s batting was, on the whole, disappointing with former skipper Collins Obuya making the only other best score of 36. The two teams meet again on Saturday in the second match of the campaign.