Aussies cruise to 60-run triumph
Australia’s unbeaten run in the World Cup stretched to 33 matches on Sunday, as they beat a plucky Kenyan side by 60 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
The Aussie triumph was built largely around a fine stand between Michael Clarke (93 off 80 balls) and the returning Mike Hussey (54), who added 114 for the fifth wicket to see Australia to a total of 324 for 6.
Kenya’s chase never really threatened their target, but Collins Obuya (98 not out) and Tanmay Mishra (72) showed plenty of resolve in helping them reach 264 for 6.
"I'm very proud," Obuya said, as he was chosen as the man-of-the-match for his fine effort. "I've been working hard on my batting, on my bowling as well, hopefully I'll become a batting allrounder."
But, it was Clarke’s joint highest score in World Cup cricket that sealed the match, while Hussey enjoyed an excellent return to the biggest stage for his country.
Skipper Ricky Ponting admitted that his side were a bit rusty, and praised the Kenyans for their gritty display.
“There is a bit of rust on the team, even with the batting. But full credit to Kenya, they fought really well. We tried a few different things today, like bowling Smith in the Powerplay. Hopefully we've shaken off the rust ahead of the Canada game.”
He also added that it was great to have “Mr Cricket” back, as Australia looked forward to a rest day.
Ponting had won the toss and elected to bat first, a decision which seemed correct as Shane Watson and Brad Haddin made a fast start. Watson clubbed 14 off the second over of the day, but then perished for 21 as he edged the bustling Nehemiah Odhiambo to the keeper for 21.
Ponting joined Haddin, and together they added 89, before a mini-collapse threatened to derail the world champions. Haddin fell first, as he was caught on the mid-wicket fence off captain Jimmy Kamande’s off-spin.
Ponting was then trapped leg-before by Obuya, before Kamande produced a sharp-turning offie to bowl a startled Cameron White and leave the Aussies at 143 for 4.
CLARKE AND HUSSEY TO THE FORE
But that set the stage for Clarke and Hussey to show their wares, with Clarke chalking up a 47th ODI fifty in the process. Hussey looked in fine nick from the start, as he showed he was well recovered from the hamstring injury that had kept him out of the initial squad.
Clarke missed out on a hundred in the pursuit of quick runs at the death, but by then the Aussies had gone beyond Kenya’s reach.
Brett Lee and Shaun Tait both struck with the new ball, the latter splattering Alex Obanda’s stumps after he had been clobbered for two sixes by the batsman.
Obuya and his brother, David, then got together, only for David to be run out when Collins stayed in his crease as Hussey swooped from square-leg.
At 46 for 3, the Kenyans could have folded, but Mishra came in and played some fine cricket shots, as he and Obuya added 115 for the fourth wicket.
Mishra completed his highest score in ODI cricket, but was then run out as Clarke’s direct hit from point found him short.
With the required run rate escalating beyond 12 an over, the only point of interest in the match was whether Collins Obuya would reach a maiden century against the world champions.
He fell agonisingly close, as Tait gave nothing away in the final over, to seal a 60-run win for the defending champions.
Despite losing, Kenya can take plenty of heart from their performance.
"At the end of the we came out second, so it's a little disappointing. The worst thing is we have only one more game left. But we can hope to improve from today. All in all Tanmay, Collins and some bowling from Nehimiah was excellent," noted skipper Kamande.
Australia: Brad Haddin (wk), Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke, Cameron White, Mike Hussey, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Jason Krejza and Shaun Tait.
Kenya: Maurice Ouma (wk), Alaex Obanda, Collins Obuya, Tanmay Mishra, Thomas Odoyo, Rakep Patel, Jimmy Kamande (c), Nehemiah Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno and James Ngoche.