6th ODI: Kenya v India, Match Report
Nelson Clare - 18 February 1996
Kenya learn the hard way as Tendulkar cuts loose
India (203-3) beat Kenya (199-6) by 7 wickets
A high-class unbeaten 127 by Sachin Tendulkar gave his adoring fans precisely what they wanted yesterday as co-hosts India cruised to a seven-wicket victory over Kenya with 8.1 overs to spare in their opening match in Group A.
Chasing a modest target of 200 to win, the result was a formality once Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja had propelled their side past fifty inside the first 10 overs and ensured that Kenya's debut in the tournament, as with the UAE and Holland, was not going to produce a sensational outcome.
Tendulkar, who dealt ruthlessly with anything pitched short, scored his first fifty in just 48 balls before progressing almost sedately to three figures, hitting a total of 15 boundaries and a six in his 134-ball innings. It made him only the third Indian after Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar to score a World Cup century.
Kenya's total of 199 for six was a respectable effort, assisted by a rusty-looking Indian seam attack. Steve Tikolo justified his billing as his side's best batsman with a composed 65 off 80 balls, but when he and captain Maurice Odumbe both fell with the score on 161 following a third-wicket stand of 96, the initiative stayed firmly with the home side.
On a slow pitch which demanded some patience against the spinners, it clearly helped to have the initials S T. Tendulkar, who will certainly be nominated for sainthood in his native Bom- bay if India win the World Cup, is not only a gifted strokeplayer but he also has an eye for the quick single. With Jadeja happy to play a supporting role with 53, the pair put on 163 in 33 overs for the first wicket.
Tendulkar's shoot-out against Brian Lara on Wednesday, is now a prospect to savour
Tendulkar's shoot-out against Brian Lara, not to mention the West Indian pace attack in Gwalior on Wednesday, is now a prospect to savour.
If yesterday's result was predictable, it also confirmed what India's rivals already knew.
Tendulkar is still only 22 but now has five one-day centuries to set alongside his eight Test hundreds. India's seam bowling depth may be questionable and the fielding relatively pedestrian, yet their top order has the potential to destroy far better attacks than the apple green-clad Kenyans could muster.
The deceptive Anil Kumble will also have a key part to play against the West Indies, though his return of three for 28 failed to dislodge Graham Gooch's three for 19 against India in 1989-90 as the best one-day international figures seen on the ground.
As for Kenya, they remained cheerful to the end and were rewarded with the cheap wickets of Navjot Sidhu and Vinod Kambli, who were both caught in the deep.
They even posted a silly point for Tendulkar with the score on 140 without loss, and were convinced they had the little master caught bat-pad one run short of his century.
Sadly for the Kenyans, no-one else in the 23,000-capacity Barabati Stadium took them seriously and the Indian was untroubled.
Kenya now travel to Visakhapatnam to face Australia hoping some of Tendulkar's magic has rubbed off on them.
Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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