Embarassing defeat for Kenya by PNG

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
May 29, 2021
  • Irfan Karim, carried his bat through Kenya’s innings with 73 not out off 115 balls.(Photo:ICC)

Kenya batting once again failed to sparkle as Thomas Odoyo’s first game as national cricket team coach resulted in an embarrassing six-wickets loss to hosts Papua New Guinea in the ICC World Cricket League Championship match at Amini Park, Port Moresby on Saturday.

The win meant PNG tasted success in the first ever ICC match held at its home ground, reaching 191 for 4 in 34.3 overs after Kenya had been bowled out for 188 in 47 overs.

As it has been the case in their recent warm up match in Australia, the Kenyan batting once again failed to shine-losing crucial wickets.

Batting was a concern that the technical bench had raised after their 2-1 loss in the hands of Northern Territory Strike in the Australian tour but once again, the department failed with only three batsmen Irfan Karim (73), Rakep Patel (39) and Gurdeep Singh (33) getting what looked like a decent score if the performance of the other players is anything to go.

Apart from 14 more runs from Nelson Odhiambo, no other batsman managed to score the double digits as Chad Soper ran through Kenya’s batting order with five wickets.

After winning the toss, Kenya looked set for a bigger total, but Soper’s 5 for 27 sent the team crashing from 172 for 5 to 188 all out in just 6.1 overs.

With Vani Morea (53 off 65 balls) and Assad Vala (69 not out off 70 balls) then coming good, PNG reached its target comfortably.

Karim, who had carried his bat through Kenya’s innings with 73 not out off 115 balls, offered the most resistance, but the team’s innings never took off, with John Reva making early inroads with two wickets.

Karim got some middle order support from Rakep Patel and Singh and was involved in partnerships worth 56 runs and 42 runs respectively with them, but there weren’t too many other contributions. His knock included seven boundaries and a six as he remained unbeaten.

PNG’s reply got off to a solid start, Lega Siaka doing the early running with 24 off 19 balls. Vala and Morea, who came together when Siaka fell to leave PNG 42 for 1 in 7.1 overs, put on 84 runs from just 80 balls for the second wicket in a partnership that swung the game decisively PNG’s way.

While Morea's innings consisted of three fours and two sixes, Vala scored eight boundaries in his unbeaten knock. Mahuru Dai also chipped in with a 44-ball 27 that bought PNG closer to the target after Morea and Sese Bau had fallen in succession.

Nehemiah Odhiambo finished with two for 31 from seven overs with the other two wickets coming from Elijah Otieno and Shem Ngoche. The two teams will take on each other once again on Monday.