Kenyans defeat Gloucestershire|
Andrew Hignell at Bristol - 9 May 1999
Kenya recorded their first win in England over a county side with a four wicket win over Gloucestershire at Bristol. Half centuries from Kennedy Otieno, Ravindu Shah and vice-captain Mo Odumbe saw the East Africans to their target with five balls to spare in their second World Cup warm-up match.
Gloucestershire got off to a shaky start after being asked to bat in overcast conditions at the County Ground. The Suji brothers, Martin and Tony, removed both Gloucestershire openers in the space of five overs to leave the home county on 7-2. Martin Suji proved especially difficult in the cloudy conditions, conceeding just one boundary in his opening ten over spell, and that off his penultimate ball. By that time Jack Russell had dug in, and the former England wicket-keeper eventually reached a gritty half century off 94 balls.
Russell also found a doughty partner in the hard-hitting Tim Hancock, and the pair added 105 from the last ten overs as the inexperienced Kenyan change bowlers were hit to all parts of the ground. Russell was out in the penultimate over for 90, including 8 fours, but Hancock ended up with an unbeaten 83 off just 59 balls, with 5 sixes and 4 fours as Gloucestershire finished on 249-6.
Needing to score at five an over, the Kenyan openers, Kennedy Otieno and Ravindu Shah, began watchfully against the accurate Jon Lewis and Mike Smith. They added 88 in 22 overs before Shah was yorked, straight after reaching his second half century of the tour. Soon afterwards, James Averis removed the dangerous Steve Tikolo who drove loosely to cover, but then Mo Odumbe steadied the innings, and together with Otieno they added 56 before the Kenyan wicket-keeper was caught and bowled by Martyn Ball for 68.
Although the Kenyans lost Hitesh Modi and Alpesh Vadher, the experienced Odumbe kept the scoreboard ticking over, and he hit a graceful 68 from 68 balls, including seven fours, before being run out by Jack Russell in the 48th over. By that time, just 18 runs were needed, and after captain Asif Karim had hit some crisp drives, it was left to Tony Suji to hit the winning runs off the first ball of the final over.
The Kenyans, rated at 250-1 outsiders for the World Cup, left Bristol in good heart for their final warm-up match against Glamorgan at Cardiff on Tuesday. Their athletic ground fielding and aggressive batting means that they will be no pushovers when the competition starts, and in this form, don't rule out a repeat of their shock victory in the 1996 competition over the West Indies.