The Royal Gazette mastheadKenya 224-8
Bermuda 145

Bermuda somehow contrived to snatch defeat from the proverbial jaws of victory in their opening one-day international at the Mombasa Sports Club on Saturday. While the scoreboard shows a resounding 79-run triumph for the host team, it doesn't tell half the story.

This was a game which Bermuda grabbed by the scruff of the neck from the outset but inexplicably, as it wore on, allowed their opponents to seize the initiative. First some superb bowling combined with plenty of agility in the field had Kenya on the ropes after they had won the toss and chosen to bat on a strip which improved as the day continued.

But having done the hard work and knocked down the first six Kenya bats for 141 runs in 38 overs, Bermuda's bowlers suddenly lost their way, allowing the hosts to smash 83 runs in the final 12 overs, number nine and ten batsmen Nehemiah Odhiambo and Peter Ongondo helping themselves to an unbeaten 34 each.

Even so with just 224 on the board from their allotted 50 overs and with the outfield quickly drying out, the target was one which Gus Logie's men could comfortably have attained had their time at the crease been spent more wisely.

Two early order bats fell to catches on the boundary as they went for the big slog but perhaps the killer blow came when opener Kwame Tucker was run out attempting a totally unnecessary second run with Saleem Mukuddem after he had, to that point, played exquisitely in an innings of 35.

In reality, this was a match which few could have envisaged been played at all given the torrential rain that fell over Mombasa throughout the week. But a few hours of baking sunshine on Friday was just enough to allow groundstaff to turn what a day earlier had been an unsightly mudbath into an attractive and perfectly playable venue. That said it was difficult to understand Kenya skipper Steve Tikolo's decision to bat first with the outfield clearly getting much faster as the day proceeded under clear skies.

And when the Kenyans had managed to put just 80 runs on the board after the first 22 overs, with three wickets down, his decision appeared even more questionable.

As had been the case in last week's four-day game, it was Saleem Mukuddem who led from the front by making the early breakthrough. First he trapped opener Maurice Ouma lbw for a duck with the total on 21 in the eighth over and then got rid of Tony Suji (2), courtesy of a brilliant low diving catch by Kevin Hurdle at deep mid-off.

Bermuda's bowlers continued to maintain the pressure and a third wicket went on 78 to yet another stunning catch, Stephen Outerbridge galloping all of 30 yards to hold onto a big hit from David Obuya and give David Hemp his first national team wicket.

Hurdle, appearing fully recovered from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the four-day game, then snared his first tour wicket, luring Tanmay Mishra to attempt a shot over square leg that was safely cupped by substitute fielder Hasan Durham.

A fine throw from Janeiro Tucker got rid of danger man Tikolo for 41 as he failed to make his ground and when Thomas Odoyo was caught by 'keeper Dean Minors for 20 off Dwayne Leverock, the Kenyans were wobbling at 141 for six.

It soon got worse as Minors took a sharp catch off Malachi Jones' bowling to dismiss Jimmy Kamande (6) and Mukuddem struck again in the first over of his second spell to trap Collins Obuya for 11.

With their opponents on 158 for eight after 43 overs, Bermuda were firmly in the driver's seat. But that was before tailenders Ongondo and Odhiambo had their say. Ryan Steede was smashed for 15 in his first over back, and when Odhiambo belted a six off the last ball of the innings off Jones, Kenya's score had somehow been allowed to accelerate to an unimagineable 224.

If Kenya had struggled in the early going of their innings, Bermuda were even more pedestrian in their reply, managing just 16 runs in the first six overs. But even when Odoyo finally broke through in the seventh over to have opener Stephen Outerbridge caught by wicketkeeper Ouma for ten with the total on 16 it was still Bermuda's game to lose.

Skipper Irving Romaine (7) looked to be playing comfortably when he was caught in the deep by Hiren Varaiya off Suji and then Janeiro Tucker (11) lost his wicket in the same fashion, caught at long off by Ongondo off the spin of Varaiya, both players attempting spectacular shots which in hindsight they will have regretted.

From 55 for three it was quickly 55-4, Hemp dismissed on his second delivery for a duck as he clipped the ball into the hands of Mishra at silly mid-on off Varaiya. Suddenly the 200-plus target looked much larger.

Mukuddem and Kwame Tucker put on another 28 runs with some attractive strokeplay but when Tucker, who appeared destined for what would have been a deserved half-century, saw the wicket broken as he hurried for a suicidal second run, there was little doubt which way the match was heading.

Mukuddem departed soon after, caught and bowled by Kamande for 17, teenager Jones (13) went in the same fashion to the same bowler and then Minors (11) was sent back, superbly caught by Suji off Varaiya to leave Bermuda on 109 for eight after 34 overs.

Hurdle smacked two big sixes in a knock off 15 before he was bowled by Tikolo and then Odhiambo put the visitors out of their misery, bowling Steede for 12 to take the last wicket with Bermuda's total on 145 and six overs still remaining.