'Forced' to play, Qatar lock out Kenya from quadrangular final

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 30, 2021
  • Qatar grudgingly played against Kenya and won by two wickets to reach the final against Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

In cricket tournaments or series, organizers set up two different days in their itineraries for different reasons.

Organizers set up a rest and reserve days just to accommodate any unforseen circumstances and enable players and their technical bench some breathing and recovery space.

A reserve day is a vacant day in a touring schedule which can be used to replay or reconvene a match which is washed out. Mostly seen in the latter stages of major limited-overs tournaments like the 50 overs and the Twenty20.

A rest day is non-playing day in the middle of a series with an aim of having teams and players get to relax after being in action.

When the fixtures of both the 50 overs and Twenty20 matches of the Cricket Kenya Quadrangular series involving hosts Kenya, Uganda, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were drawn, the same rules were 'applied'. Thursday 29th September was set up as a rest day for all the teams ahead of the Twenty20 final slated for the next day.

But after Kenya lost to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the rest day became reserve day after Kenya found themselves staring at elimination.

After their match with Qatar on Monday was called off without a ball being bowled and the two sides sharing points and Qatar and Kenya having won a match, the two sides were equal points.

But with Qatar having a superior net run over Kenya, they were set to play Saudi Arabia in Friday’s final until the meaning of rest day was changed.

Sources told Sports News Arena that Cricket Kenya forced a reluctant Qata to play after a lot of pleas.

Fate favored Qatar

And as fate would have it, after the last ball of the match was bowled, Qatar made headlines by locking out Kenya after winning by two wickets with two balls to play.

The joy and jubilations in Qatar players' camp said it all about a team that was being robbed their rightful in Friday’s finals place.

Bowlers set up the win for Qatar as Mohammed Awais, Iman ul-Haq and Mujeeb ur Rehman all picked up two wickets each to help the visitors dismiss Kenya for a modest 158 runs on a slow pitch at Nairobi Gymkhana.

Man-of-the-match Haq showed his all-round skill scoring 31 runs and putting on 42 runs with Imran Ashraf for the fifth wicket as Qatar recovered from 76-4 to reach 159 for 9 completing their win over Kenya in two meetings.

Qatar began their chase positively with openers Faisal Javid Khan and Kamran Khan putting on 47 in 4.1 overs. Nelson Mandela Odhiambo got the breakthrough with two wickets in three balls to reduce them to 48 for 2 after 4.3 overs.

He first had Kamran caught on 12 before bowling out Javid on 35 runs that had five fours and two sixes. A run out to Mohamed Rizlan and a caught behind off Dhiren Gondaria reduced Qatar to 76 for 4 paving way to Haq and Ashraf’s stand.

Needing 63 to win from 42 balls, Ashraf managed to hit Collins Obuya for three four and a six to get his side closer to the finish line. Elijah Otieno enacted brakes on them with the wicket of Haq with the last ball of the next over.

Odhiambo picked his third wicket by dismissing Ashraf with the third ball of the 16th over before running out Nouman Sarwar the next ball for a duck.

Kenya kept on fighting and with 25 balls to play and 30 to win, Elijah Otieno dismissed Mujeeb-ur-Rehman for 5.

Awais and Hussain frustrate Kenya

But that was far as Kenya could go as Mohammed Awais and Iqbal Hussain stood firm to lead their team to victory.

The two hit four boundaries and a couple of doubles leaving them with four to win from six which was achieved with four balls top play.

Earlier, Kenya could only pass the 150-run mark owing to an unbeaten 54 runs of skipper Rakep Patel, who shared 41 runs with Obuya (15) that got Kenya to 91 for 4 after being reduced to 50 for 3 in 5.6 overs.

Summary Scores

Kenya 158 for 7 in 20 overs

Rakep Patel 54, Rushab Patel 28, Irfan Karim 19, Collins Obuya 15,

Mohammed Awais 2 for 35, Iman-ul-Haq 2 for 35, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman 4 for 30

Qatar 159 for 8 in 19.4 overs

Faisal Javid Khan 35, Imran Ashraf 33, Iman-ul-Haq 31, Iqbal Hussain 24

Nelson Odhiambo 3 for 29, Elijah Otieno 2 for 35

Qatar won by 2 wickets.