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Ireland International Matches Database
Match Report
Derek Scott

This match marked a watershed in Ireland's 50/50 matches against Kenya. It resulted in the first Irish win in such a match. The previous four, played between 1996 and 2006, were all lost.

Ireland batted poorly having been sent in. The best stand was 49 and no other partnership reached 30. At the half-way mark the situation looked ominous for Ireland. However, Kenya's best stand was only 35. The sixth Kenyan wicket fell in the 26th over with the total on 86 and the last three wickets fell on the same score, 115, the innings lasting only 39 overs.

Ireland made four changes from the four-day match against Canada two weeks earlier. Out went Johnston (who had retired from 50/50 limited overs cricket), Thompson, McAllister and Kevin O'Brien (who suffered a back spasm in the warm up before the match). In came Porterfield, to captain the team, Niall O'Brien, Wilson and Rankin, all of whom were released by counties. Three matches were arranged against Kenya all at Stormont over a four-day period. Niall O'Brien could only play in this match, the first of the three. Rankin could play in this and the second but not the third match. Porterfield, who was captain, and Wilson would be available for all three matches. Rankin, now with Warwickshire, after a year long injury was at least fit. He had played in a county match recently but this was in fact his first match for Ireland since the World Cup in the West Indies in March 2007. In fact, it was his first ever home match for Ireland.

The sun shone on the morning of the match and it was warm but the clouds were imminent. The pitch was hard with a touch of green throughout its length. Porterfield and Wilson opened to the medium pace bowling of Odoyo and Ongondo and both were out before the end of the 10th over with only 23 runs on the board. Wilson had a run out escape in over three. He was facing but left his ground and had to dive back. In over six Porterfield pushed at a ball from Ongondo and was caught high up at mid-off, a poor shot. 7-1-4. Niall O'Brien came in but in over 10 Ongondo took his second wicket. Wilson had a fairly wild swish and was caught by the wicket-keeper diving to his right, a very good catch. 23-2-5. Botha joined O'Brien and the 10 overs score was 24. Odhiambo, quickish medium, replaced Odoyo for over 13 in which over Botha hit the first four of the innings, a square drive. In Odhiambo's next over, the 15th, Botha snicked and was dropped by the wicket-keeper to his left and the ball went for four. It should have been caught and the wicket-keeper may have prevented a catch to Tikolo at slip. Botha was 10 and the score 36. In the next over, bowled by Ongondo, Botha gave another unaccepted chance to gully.

Suji replaced Ongondo for over 18 and his first ball bowled Botha who played over it. 49-3-22. White joined O'Brien and was nearly caught at square leg in Odhiambo's next over. The stand only lasted into Suji's second over. O'Brien pushed forward and was bowled. 54-4-10. This was now a critical situation as Cusack joined White. Between them they retrieved the situation putting on 49 in 17 overs and seeing the 100 up. The stand began with a 10 minute rain break and then only six runs came in the next four overs. Then Cusack hit three fours in the next four overs. Varaiya, slow left arm, was on for over 30, after eight overs had been bowled by Odhiambo. White swept the fourth ball for four to mid-wicket, his first boundary off his 16th ball.

Scoring again slowed to singles. The score after 30 overs was 85 so could 170 be hoped for from 50? There was another five-minute rain break. Kamande, off spin, came on for over 33. 100 was up in over 35 and the 5th wicket fell in over 37, bowled by Variaya. White swept and was caught at short fine leg. 103-5-25. Strydom faced three balls and was out to Kamande in over 30. He was caught at slip by Tikolo. 104-6-1. Poynter was next. He and Cusack put on 14 runs in just over four overs and all runs off the bat were singles. Then two wickets fell at the same score in successive overs.

The score after 40 overs was 113. Could 60 be scored in the last 10 overs with four wickets in hand? The answer came to an emphatic "no". In over 42 Cusack skied Kamande to short mid-arm. 118-7-33. Cusack's 33 came in 65 balls with only three fours. McCallan came in and Poynter played out the 2 remaining balls off over 42. The 43rd over was Varaiya's eighth. Its fourth ball had McCallan LBW for his first nought in 22 innings going back to 2007. 118-8-0.

Rankin was a surprise number 10 ahead of Connell. He faced only five balls and scored a single before coming down the pitch to Kamande in over 46. He missed and was stumped. 126-9-1 Connell played out a wicket maiden. Overs 47 and 48 yielded only three runs. Tikolo bowled his off spin in over 49 as Varaiya was bowled out. Four runs came off Tikolo's over. The 50th over was Kamandes 10th. Poynter hit the first ball for six over wide long-on, the first six of the innings. There were three runs off the next three balls. Connell faced the fifth ball and joined in the six hitting, his went over long-on. The final ball was a dot when Connell missed his cut at it.

148 was not a big score and the last 20 overs only brought 65 runs for the loss of five wickets. Kenya used to no less than seven borders. Two of them, Varaiya and Kamande, were the only two to bowl 10 overs each and between them they took five wickets for 60 runs. The opening bowlers, Odoyo and Ongondo, neither of whom were recalled, took two for 27 in 14 overs.

After the lunch break Obando and Obuya opened for Kenya. Connell bowled the first over in which there were four byes and after four balls rain delayed play for 10 minutes. On resumption Rankin bowled the second over and Obuya heaved a four to long leg. Obanda then hit Connell for four to third man. In Rankin's second over Obuya hit a four and was caught at slip three balls later. 18-1-9. Patel came in. Nine runs were added in the next three overs before there was a comical run out in Connell's fourth over, the seventh in all. Obanda was the striker. The ball went behind the wicket. Obanda set off and then went back. Patel was then halfway down the pitch. He could not get back and was run out at the bowler's end. 30-2-6.

Tikolo, the captain, was number four. He seemed now to be in decline as a batsmen. This would be a test with 119 runs needed in 43 overs. It was not to be for Tikolo. He lost Obanda in Rankin's fourth over. Obanda hit a four to extra cover. Two balls later he shovelled to long leg. Connell was at fine leg. He ran towards square leg and caught the ball at full stretch. It was a fine catch. 39-3-16. Ouma came next. He hit two fours, the second of which brought up 50. Botha replaced Connell for over 11. Meanwhile Tikolo faced 11 balls without scoring and was LBW to the 12th in Botha's second over. 51-4-0. Odoyo came in and he too was LBW to the very next ball. 51-5-0. Kamande then avoided a hat trick and played out a two wicket maiden for Botha.

The Ouma/Kamande stand put on 35 from 79 balls and was, by 17 runs, the best stand of the innings. When Rankin came off Cusack had three overs. Then McCallan replaced him for over 20. Ouma hit Botha for four in over 21 and Kamande then did likewise in over 23. The score after 20 overs was 67. Cusack replaced Botha for over 25 at the end of which the score was 85. McCallan broke this sixth wicket stand in his fourth over when Ouma returned a simple caught and bowled. 86-6-25.

Suji was number eight and this stand lasted five overs. Connell replaced Cusack for over 29 and in his second over back, the 31st, Suji became the third LBW of the innings. 99-7-2. Varaiya joined Kamande and was batting well. In McCallan's seventh over he had a four to extra cover. Rankin replaced Connell for over 35 but it was McCallan who took the next wicket with the last ball of his 10th over. Varaiya became the fourth LBW with the eighth wicket now down. 115-8-5. What turned out to be the last over was bowled by Botha. Kamande drove the fifth ball low to Porterfield at short extra cover. 115-9-33. Kamande then had faced 87 balls which was 40 more than the next best. Ongondo came in at number 11 with one ball of Botha's over left. He drove it high to deep mid-off where Cusack brought off a fine catch pedalling backwards.

Of the five Irish bowlers only Cusack went wicketless and only McCallan bowled 10 overs. Botha's figures were best, 4-19 in eight overs. The fielding was excellent. In 39 overs Kenya could only manage nine fours and lost by 33 runs with 11 overs unbowled. It was a quick and very good first win for Ireland against Kenya in a 50 overs per side match.

Photographs
Stormont, Belfast