Kenya bowled off the inaugural ‘Derby Series’ with a 78 – run win over Uganda courtesy of twin half centuries by Alex Obanda and Irfan Karim and a 4 – wicket haul for Nehemiah Odhiambo at the Kyambogo Criket Oval in Kampala, Uganda this evening.
Sent in to bat, Alex Obanda immediately set off, firing 9 boundaries and two maximums on his way to a 68 – ball 73, guiding the visitors to a massive 7/306 after 50 overs. Obanda got his maiden half century of the series in his 49th ball in style, hitting Riazat Ali Shah over long on for a maximum. However, he hit one too many and was deservedly sent back by a screamer at mid – wicket, when he attempted to take Henry Ssenyondo over Bilal Hassan who took a one handed catch at long on at the close of the 23rd.
Surprisingly, Gurdeep Singh opened the batting with Obanda but couldn’t get going, returning with 18 runs off 25 balls, his sticks being knocked back by Kenneth Waiswa in the 8th over to break the 42 – run opening partnership. Rushab Patel looked solid alongside Obanda, the pair adding 67 runs to the 2nd wicket before Patel miscued a sweep shot to Simon Ssesazi in the cordon for 30.
Effectively 3 – 136, Irfan Karim and Nelson Odhiambo put on a disciplined but stellar show as they added 99 runs to the fourth wicket before skipper Brian Masaba held on to Karim caught on the ropes to gift his gun spinner Ssenyondo a third wicket.
The damage had already been done, though. Karim in his usual slow but sure mode, crafted his innings away and managed to finish on a run-a-ball 72 to take the score to 4 – 235 by the time he departed in the 39th over.
Odhiambo (38) followed him out three overs later, edging a cross bat off Bilal Hassan to find Kenneth Waiswa at covers.
Skipper Shem Obado came in to support Odhiambo but tried to accelerate once left with the lead role, only to be stumped off his fellow skipper for 24. Zahid Abbas managed 14 runs on a long awaited debut while Nehemiah Ngoche remained unbeaten on 12.
Henry Ssenyondo finished his quota with 3/42 while skipper Brian Masaba bagged 2/42 from his nine.
In reply, a defiant innings from Riazat Shah that yielded 74 runs from 72 balls was not enough to rescue Uganda from the mammoth total as they capitulated for 228 runs in 46.2 overs. Shah struck 6 fours and a sole boundary as he inched his side closer to a target that was always out of reach with the run rate ever climbing as he lost partners periodically.
Nehemiah Ngoche struck twice in two consecutive balls to have Vice Captain Arnold Otwani (2) and Simon Ssesazi walk back to the dug out in the first over, fending off to Karim.
Shazad Kamal and Frank Akankwasa tried to rebuild the innings from there on but Mandela took a blinder at backward point to dismiss Kamal who looked set to go for 14 to cramp the hosts further to 3/42. Akankwasa was resilient for the hosts, smashing Emmanuel Ringera for three consecutive boundaries as he closed off his first over but a change in bowling ends for the lanky paceman did wonders four overs later to knick him off into Karim’s gloves just seven runs short of his half century. Uganda then lost 2 – 0 as Masaba (4) also perished in a like for like manner as the Kenyan skipper.
However Shah changed the outlook of the game from there on, adding 60 runs to the 6thwicket with Waiswa (24) before the latter pumped a short ball to Eugene Odhiambo who took it on his knees at fine leg.
Off spinner Zahid Abbas made his bowling debut in the 33rd over but had to wait up to the close of the 39th to account for wicket keeper Fred Achelam caught and bowled for a silent 22 runs.
Bilal Hassan looked threatening, ruining Eugene Odhiambo’s figures with two consecutive fours and a six in the 41st over, his 16 – ball 24 cameo ending when he skied one to Dominic Wesonga (sub) at point for 24 in the 45th over.
When it seemed like the match would run its entire course, Nehemiah Ngoche came back for his third spell to claim Shah as he holed out to Wesonga at deep point to wrap up the match for Kenya with 22 balls to spare.
The senior Ngoche sibling finished with a remarkable 4/15 from 5.2 overs while Ringera redeemed himself from the earlier onslaught with 2/49 from 7 overs.
The visitors go one – up in the three match series with the next match set for tomorrow, 5th September from 10:00am.