Bagai, Hansra seal victory for Canada
Skipper Ashish Bagai was there at the end as Canada completed just their second World Cup win ever, beating Kenya by five wickets in their Group A match in Delhi.
Canada, chasing a target of 199 to win, had skipper Bagai and Jimmy Hansra to thank, as they coasted to victory against the struggling African side.
Canada made an excellent start to the battle of the minnows, as Henry Osinde struck thrice, on his way to fine figures of 4 for 26 from his ten overs.
“I was a bit surprised by the swing,”Osinde said when receiving his man of the match award. “In November, we came to India and saw how the pitches played, so we knew what to expect."
Bagai also paid tribute to the start afforded to his side by Osinde’s triple burst, which included the wicket of Maurice Ouma off just the second ball of the match.
“Osinde did a fantastic job first up,” he reflected.
KENYA IN REAL STRIFE
Kenya had won the toss and elected to bat, but soon found themselves in trouble at 57 for five by the 15th over. Collins Obuya had briefly raised their spirits, as he bludgeoned 31 off 35 balls. But once he was bowled by Harvir Baidwan, the Kenyans were in real strife.
"We started very badly, but after the recovery, 220 looked possible and that would have been defendable,” lamented skipper Jimmy Kamande.
“Osinde bowled brilliantly and (Tanmay) Mishra just got out at the wrong time,” he added. It took a slow but much-needed partnership of 52 between Mishra and Kamande for the sixth wicket to stabilise the Kenyan innings. Kamande fell for 22, trying to cut the leg-spin of Balaji Rao.
That brought Thomas Odoyo to the crease, and he smashed his way to an entertaining 51 off 62 balls, and he was out to the last ball of the innings, having given Kenya something to bowl at.
Once Mishra had gone in the 43rd over, also for 51 (73 balls), Odoyo didn’t have the partners needed to give the innings a final, big push.
A BLAZING START
Canada’s chase started in a blaze, as Rizwaan Cheema clubbed 17 off 13 balls, before his leg-stump was uprooted by Elijah Otieno.
Some good work in the field then saw Kamande run out Zubin Surkari, before Ruvindu Gunasekera was eventually stumped by a bumbling Ouma at the second attempt.
At 48 for three, the game was in the balance, but Bagai and the adventurous Jimmy Hansra (70 off 99 balls) then added 132 to put the game beyond doubt.
“We were disappointed with the show in the last few games, but today Jimmy hung around with me,” Bagai explained after the match.
“We were fortunate not to have run-rate pressure. Once you were in, you could rotate the strike. In the end it was just about milking them around. I am glad we won this and got it under our belt."
Even though Hansra and then Gordon fell before they reached the target, Bagai clubbed two fours in the 46th over, as he finished on 64 not out to wrap up a memorable night for the North Americans.
For Kenya, it was another night of woe.
“When you are defending 200, you need to keep trying for wickets,” Kamande said. “It did not work today, but there were some things to learn."
Canada: Rizwaan Cheema, R Gunasekera, Z Surkari, Ashish Bagai (wk/c), A Hansra, T Gordon, J Davison, H Baidwan, P Desai, H Osinde and Balaji Rao.
Kenya: Maurice Ouma, S Waters, Collins Obuya, D Obuya, Stegve Tikolo, T Mishra, Jimmy Kamande (c), Thomas Odoyo, N Odhiambo, E Otieno, J Ngoche.