Kenya trip Dutch at the final turn
Bertus de Jong
Collins Obuya dragged Kenya over the line to take two points off the Netherlands in their second World Cricket League Championship match at Buffalo Park. With Papua New Guinea taking the honours in their second match against Scotland the Netherlands had an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table ahead of the final simultaneous round of matches in Dubai in December, but stumbled as they entered the home stretch.
The Dutch had looked well in control for the first twenty overs of the match as Wesley Barresi and Stephan Myburgh but on a 120-run opening stand at nearly a run-a-ball after Rakep Payel had invited them to bat, but with the introduction of spin the momentum swung dramatically in favour of the notional hosts.
Shem Ngoche found the breakthrough, spreading Barresi stumps to send him back to the pavilion for 69, before Patel struck twice in three balls to dismiss Myburgh for 50 and Roelof van der Merwe for 9. Thereafter Kenya kept the Dutch on the back foot, Ngoche claiming three more wickets in succession as the Dutch middle order wilted.
A defiant half-century from Michael Rippon saw the visitors past the 200 mark, but Collins Obuya's legspin kept the pressure on, his 8 overs yielding just 25 runs as well as the wickets of Sikander Zulfiqar and Timm van der Gugten. The regular wickets kept the Dutch in check, just two boundaries coming in the final thirty overs as the tourists limped to 224-9 from their 50 overs, Rippon's the last wicket to fall for 51.
Vivian Kingma again had Irfan Karim trapped LBW early, but as the shine wore off the ball it was clear that the seamers would find little more reward. The introduction of van der Merwe's made an immediate impact, the left arm spinner removing Alex Obanda with his first ball and then bowling 18 consecutive dot balls, but Dirhen Gondaria ensured the pressure was not allowed to build, his assured 63 from 82 ensuring the Kenyans never lost control of the chase.
The Dutch hung in admirably, Peter Borren making full use of all three of his spinners, Pieter Seelaar and van der Merwe both picking up two wickets and Michael Rippon removing the opposing captain, but veteran number 5 Obuya kept his head, and Borren eventually ran out of slow bowling options.
The Dutch skipper brought himself on at the death to bowl a remarkable spell of 2-13 in 5 overs and almost put a halt to the Kenyan's chase, but was reduced to calling on the part time off-spin of Stephan Myburgh at the other end. Obuya stayed cool even as his partners were wittled away, eventually shepherding the tail over the line with three balls to spare, finishing unbeaten on 56.
The win keeps Kenya in contention for a top four finish, moving to 12 points and edging ahead of Hong Kong into fourth place, though Hong Kong have two games in hand against Nepal to make up the deficit.
For the Dutch currently leading on 18 points and two points ahead of Papua New Guinea, the defeat means they will need to win both their final round matches against Namibia to be sure of claiming the title (and the phantasmagorical 13th spot in the ICC's mooted ODI league) depsite enjoying a significant net run rate advantage over the Papuans, as the tournament regulations specify that "total wins" takes precedence over net run rate as a tie-breaker in the case of teams finishing on equal points.