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Match Report
Derek Scott

Sadly this match produced a second defeat, and was very akin to that against Scotland three days earlier in that Ireland failed to defend a high total, 284. Scotland won off the last ball. Kenya won by one wicket but with an over to spare. When Varaiya arrived at number 11, 54 runs were needed in 38 balls. It seemed an Irish cakewalk. However, there were three negative factors. The number 11, Varaiya, was, in fact, a middle order batsman of some repute. Thomas Odoyo was a far better player than a number nine would be expected to be and he had scored 12 from 14 balls already. Finally, to Ireland's disadvantage, McCallan, 4-36, was bowled out. In the final 33 balls Varaiya faced 11 of them and made five singles. Odoya took charge but, despite this, 30 were needed in three overs. The third last over gave up 10 runs. However, the second last over saw the match won with an over to spare. Odoya got on strike for the third ball and hit Langford-Smith for 6-6-4-4. In their 55 runs stand off 33 balls neither batsman gave a chance and seemed to middle every ball.

Johnston finished his spell, 0-76! with the 45th over. Botha bowled the 46th and O'Brien the 47th. Botha bowled the 48th. Langford-Smith replaced O'Brien for over 49 and that was the end. Half volley followed half volley and there was no slower ball or yorker. It was a sad end and was the highest 10th wicket stand against Ireland since Geoff Dymock and Len Pascoe for Australia in 1977 added 64 in Rathmines.

J Bray was unfit to play so Carroll continued. Gillespie came in for P Mooney and Langford-Smith returned for Rankin. Most of the Kenyans were well known to Ireland since Ireland's win against them in Nairobi in 2005. The day was warm, sunny, with a little cloud. The start was delayed by 30 minutes due to a damp pitch. There was rain in the night and, because of this, the outfield was slow.

Kenya won the toss and fielded. Porterfield played a maiden from the fast-medium Odoya with his 20 yard run. Ongondo was a replica of Odoya from the other end. Carroll took a two off the second ball and thin edged the third from low on the bat to first slip. 2-1-2. In the third over Morgan hit a straight four. He was lucky in the fifth over. An Odoya no-ball saw him caught at slip. He hit another straight four in over seven. He was out, however, to Ongondo in over eight. He reached for a cut without moving his back foot across and the ball went straight to cover. 18-2-11. Niall O'Brien was next. He and Porterfield seemed to be retrieving the situation and scored steadily, Porterfield doing most of the scoring. Odhiambo, at medium pace, came on for over 12 and Ongondo changed ends. Porterfield hit Ongondo for a straight four in over 13 and a single to O'Brien brought up 50 in over 14. In over 15 Porterfield hit a four and a two. Two balls later he played a stroke to the gully area. There did not seem to be much calling but a run was attempted and O'Brien was run out at the wicket-keeper's end. 57-3-9. 14.4 overs had been bowled and this was not the start needed. As it turned out, Ireland need not have worried. In fact, the next wicket fell to the last ball of the innings.

In 35.2 overs Porterfield and Kevin O'Brien put on 227 runs. By three runs this was the highest ever stand for the fourth wicket for Ireland beating the 224 (unbroken) by Alan Lewis and Garfield Harrison against Scotland at Hamilton Cresent in a three-day match in 1994. It was the first stand of 200 runs or more in a limited overs match and the second highest ever for any wicket. The only higher than that was 304 by Bray and Niall O'Brien against United Arab Emirates in a three-day game in Namibia in 2006. Porterfield scored his second successive century, 104 in 129 deliveries, and O'Brien his first, 142 in 125 balls, 80 of his runs coming in boundaries. O'Brien faced two thirds of the balls bowled in the stand. There were two possible chances but the first only came when the score was 218 and the second in the last over.

The start of the partnership was quiet enough, each player hitting a four in the first two overs of the stand. The spinners Varaiya, slow left arm, and Tikolo, off spin, came on for overs 18 and 19 and Kenya's three power plays ended at over 20, when the score was 79. The spinners bowled together from over 17 to over 28. O'Brien, in overs 20 and 26, was nearly caught at extra cover. In both cases the dive inwards to the ball failed. By over 25 the score had risen to 95 and 100 came up in over 28, not a great rate but after 57-3 there had to be a defensive period. Kamanda, off spin, replaced Tikolo and the score after 30 overs was 112. This, with only three wickets down, predicted a final tally in the region of 230 to 250. It turned out to be much better.

Porterfield had by now hit three fours and O'Brien two. The rate now went up. There were not many boundaries. Porterfield had gone to 50 in over 29 off 68 deliveries. Tikolo returned at a different end to his first spell. 150 came up in over 37 and O'Brien hit Tikolo for 6 to long-on to bring him to 51 in 85 balls. He repeated this long-on six in Tikolo's next over and the 40 over score was 172, 60 having been added in the last 10 overs.

Odoya came back and replaced Kamanda for over 41 which gave up nine runs. Odoyo's next over had two fours and yielded 11. Varaiya replaced Tikolo for over 44. 200 came up and O'Brien hit another six over long-on. Kamanda came back after one over by Odoyo and O'Brien hit his fourth six, this time over wide mid-wicket. Then, on the fourth ball of over 45, Kamanda dropped Porterfield on a simple caught and bowled. Porterfield was 93 and the score was 218. Tikolo came back for over 46 after Varaiya's one over and eight came from it. The score was now 227 with four overs left. Porterfield was 97 and O'Brien 93. Both reached their 100s in over 47, bowled by Kamanda. With a two and a single Porterfield reached his 100 first, coming off 127 balls with five fours. Next ball a six over long-on took O'Brien to exactly 100 in only 107 balls with five sixes and five fours. He celebrated by hitting the next ball to extra cover for four. 15 came from the 47th over and the total was now 242, so the projected score at the thirty over mark had been reached. Odoyo bowled over 48. O'Brien hit successive fours to long-on and mid-wicket and 250 came up. For over 49 Odhiambo came back for his fourth over although Ongondo had two to bowl. O'Brien faced all six balls. The over went six (long-on), 2, 4 (mid-wicket), dot, four (snick over the wicket-keeper), four (fine leg). 20 had come off the over and the 200 stand was raised with the first ball for six. The score was now 273 in 49 overs.

The 50th over, bowled by Odoya gave up 11. O'Brien was dropped at long-on off the fourth ball. The last ball brought a run out. O'Brien tried a second run but a throw to the wicket-keeper ran him out by a distance. At 57-3 in over 15 and 112-3 after over 20 a score of 284 was a massive bonus. The last 10 overs saw 112 runs scored. In these 10 overs Porterfield faced 27 balls and scored 28 runs. O'Brien faced 34 balls for 60 runs.

It could be said that, say, after 35 overs, when the score was 142, and a bad start over Porterfield should have gone quicker, adopting a "get on or get out" philosophy to allow fast scorers Johnston and Gillespie to come in with a possible 300 plus target. If this had happened, as events transpired, Kenya could not have won. Kenya used six bowlers. Ongondo only bowled nine and took the only two bowler's wickets, giving him 2-33. The next best bowler was Varaiya, who conceded 44 runs in his 10 overs.

A number of highlights regarding the Irish innings:-

1. Successive centuries by Porterfield was a feat last achieved by Niall O'Brien in the Intercontinental Cup final stages in Namibia 2005. This feat had been achieved four times in all, the others to do so being IJ Anderson (in same match v Scotland) and MA Masood.

2. Two centuries in one innings last happened in Namibia also with Jeremy Bray and Niall O'Brien in the second innings against United Arab Emirates. The only previous instance in a 50 Overs Limited Overs Match was against Hertfordshire in 2003 when Botha and G Dros got centuries.

3. Both Niall and Kevin O'Brien have now scored centuries for Ireland. The last brothers to do so were J Harrison and GD Harrison. The other brothers to do this were James and Tom Macdonald.

The Kenyan reply began at 2 p.m. Ouma and Obuya opened to Johnston and Langford-Smith. 11 overs from these two gave up 80, but there was an early wicket. The second over, Langford-Smith's first, accounted for Ouma. He hit the fourth ball for a four to square-leg and was lbw on the front foot to the fifth. 9-1-6. Odhiambo came next and fours flowed. In the third, fourth and fifth overs no less than seven fours were struck, three to Obuya and four to Odhiambo. In contrast the sixth over, bowled by Langford-Smith, was a maiden, the first of three such in the innings. 50 came up in over seven and, in this over, and the next two, four more fours were hit so that by now, after nine overs, Obuya had six fours and Odhiambo five. The 10 overs score was 69 and the second power play was called. In that 10th over Obuya was lucky when he lofted a shot just over mid-wicket. Over 11 was Johnston's last in this spell and Odhiambo ended it with a four and a six over long-on. Botha came on for Langford-Smith for the 12th over. Its last ball took the second wicket. Obuya was caught at long-on who did not have to move. 83-2-34.

Kenya's captain and great player Tikolo was next. O'Brien bowled the 13th over after Johnston's six over spell (0-49!). Tikolo opened his scoring by square cutting O'Brien for four. Another power play, the last, was called at over 15 when the score was 95. A quiet period followed but Odhiambo got a four to fine third man that might have been a chance to the wicket-keeper and brought up 100 in over 16. In over 19 Carroll, at short mid-wicket, made a great effort to catch Tikolo off O'Brien but his dive inwards could not effect the catch. At 109-2 at the start of over 20, Kenya looked well on course after their great start. However, in this over, Tikolo was out at 109. Wickets then fell regularly, and six wickets fell for 122. The match seemed won. It was but was not won for Ireland.

Carroll's dropped catch was not expensive. In the next over by Botha, the 20th, Tikolo pushed lazily to short mid-wicket were Johnston dived in and caught it. This was a good catch. 109-3-7. Mishra joined Odhiambo who went to 50 in over 21 off 61 balls. McCallan was on for Botha, who had figures of 5-0-16-2, for over 22 and Langford-Smith returned for one over after O'Brien went off with figures of 5-0-14-0. He bowled two wides and Odhiambo hit a six over long-on. White replaced him for over 25. After 25 overs the halfway score was 134-3 so the Kenyan run rate was about what was needed. The two off-spinners bowled from over 25 to over 38. Their short mid-wicket was badly placed. He should have been about 3 yards squarer to cut off singles which were frequent. The fourth wicket fell in over 28, bowled by McCallan. Odhiambo got too far under the leg side hit which skied to square-leg where Niall O'Brien ran from wicket-keeper to catch it. 139-4-66. His innings had lasted 83 balls with two sixes and seven fours. Shah, one of Kenya's best batsman, came in at number six. He had retired hurt while fielding and, according to the laws, could not bat until now. He appeared with Tikolo to run for him. By thirty overs the score had moved to 146. In over 34 Mishra had a reverse sweep for four and then hit White for six to long-on.

Shah faced McCallan for over 36. He had faced 19 balls before he was out to the third ball of this over. He has scored eight singles and a two off the last ball he had faced. He stepped down the pitch and was caught by Botha at wide long-off. 172-5-10. Kamanda came in and was aggressive at once. In over 37 he hit White for six to mid-wicket and a four to fine leg next ball, 13 coming from the over. In the next over from McCallan Kamanda hit a six to long-on off the first ball. He hit the second-high and square but Carroll could not reach it running in from the boundary. From the last ball of the over he was caught by Kevin O'Brien at deep mid-wicket trying for another six. 197-6-20. C Obuya joined Mishra. 12 overs were left and 88 runs were needed. An Irish win loomed. White bowled seven overs for 38 but was taken off for the return of Johnston, a dubious decision. In his first over, the 39th, six singles were taken and 200 came up. Then McCallan bowled his 10th and last over, the 40th, and took his fourth wicket. C Obuya glanced the second ball to short leg fine leg where White dived to his right and made the catch low and two handed, a brilliant catch by any standard. 205-7-5.

Odoyo arrived and was to be the ultimate match winner. This did not seem likely as he strolled out. 64 balls remained to get 80 runs with three wickets in hand. McCallan went off with figures of 10-2-36-4 and he had broken the back of the innings and was probable Man-of-the-Match had Ireland won. The Mishra / Odoyo stand went on for four overs and 26 runs but only one four from Mishra. Botha had come back from McCallan. The second ball of his second over, the 44th, after a ball change, Mishra cut fiercely and was caught at the wicket from a thin edge. 231-8-49. Two balls later Botha had Ongondo lbw. 231-9-0

Varaiya was the ultimate batsmen but was known to be no buffer. 54 were needed in 38 balls. Only two singles had come in that double wicket 44th over. Johnston's tenth over was the 45th. Six runs came from it, including a four to Odoyo. 47 were needed in five overs with one wicket left. Surely this was Ireland's game? It seemed more so after over 46 in which Botha only yielded six more runs. Then, in the next three overs, and the last three of the game, Varaiya was only allowed face four balls and he got singles off three of them. O'Brien bowled over 47 in which 11 runs were scored including a six to Odoyo from a "pick-up" shot to square-leg. White was injured stopping a boundary and had to go off. With three overs to go 30 were needed. 10 came from Botha's next over. There was no four but every ball was scored off, nine of the runs to Odoyo, leaving now 20 to win in two overs.

Who should bowl the penultimate over, it being clear that Botha would bowl the last? There were only two choices, O'Brien or Langford-Smith. After O'Brien's disaster with the last over against Scotland, the choice was Langford-Smith. His first ball to Varaiya was a dot and from the second came a single. Then the ceiling fell down! Odoyo hit the third ball for six over long-on. A similar fate befell the fourth bringing Odoyo to 53 off 34 balls. The fifth ball was hit for four through the covers and the last, and match-winning stroke, was another four to backward square leg. Odoyo finished with 61 in 36 balls with three sixes and three fours, four of those six boundaries coming off the last four balls of the match and there was one over left to spare. The last pair put on 55 in 33 balls, 49 of the runs to Odoyo and only five to Varaiya. As in the Scottish match one could only say "well played Kenya". They had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Ireland once again fielded well getting to the ball quickly and returns were fast and accurate. Six bowlers were used. If one excludes Carroll and Morgan it was all Ireland had. The star was McCallan but Botha also took four wickets in his nine overs for 42 runs. O'Brien's six overs were at a rate of four runs per over but Johnston's 10 overs cost nearly 8 runs each and Langford-Smith seven overs went for 60.

Odoyo was Man-of-the-Match. At least the wide count came down from 25 against Bermuda to 10. After two defeats that almost defied belief Ireland almost certainly could not now finish in the first two.