After they beat Kenya by a wide margin in the Intercontinental Cup game, many would have thought that another easy win was due for Afghanistan in the ODI series.
But a poor batting display which saw just two players reach double figures meant that Afghanistan went down to a heavy defeat of their own in the first ODI at the Nairobi Gymkhana.
Kenyan captain Jimmy Kamande won the toss and chose to bat first. Opening pair Seren Waters and David Obuya put on 55 before they became the first two victims for the Intercontinental Cups leading wicket-taker Hamid Hassan. Steve Tikolo and Collins Obuya then put on 77 for the third wicket before Tikolo, playing his 127th ODI, was out for 57.
Tikolo was bowled by Mirwais Ashraf, and his dismissal sparked a Kenyan collapse as they went from 139-2 to 145-8, four of those wickets going to Ashraf, who finished with 4-35. Jimmy Kamande give the innings some late impetus, smashing 31 from 27 balls, before becoming the third wicket for Hamid Hassan, who also bowled number 11 James Ngoche to finish with career best figures of 4-26.
The target of 181 should have been an easy one for the Afghans, but it turned out to be anything but that. Openers Karim Sadiq and Noor Ali Zadran (19 and 41) respectively, were the only two batsmen to reach double figures, Zadran the sole bright spot as wickets fell around him before he was ninth out with the score on 87.
One more run and one more wicket later and Afghanistan were out for 88, losing by 92 runs. Nehemiah Odhiambo was the pick of the bowlers with 3-16.
Afghanistan's ODI record isn't as good as some might think as they have yet to win an ODI series. They need a much improved performance in Saturday's second ODI if they are to change that.