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Collins Obuya

13 not out and five for 24 in the second innings against Sri Lanka
2003 World Cup league match
Kenya (210 for 9) beat Sri Lanka (157 all out) by 53 runs

Kenyans shock Sri Lanka
Simon Briggs - 25 February 2003

Ali Bacher's dream of a pan-African World Cup was born anew yesterday when Kenya overcame a stilted Sri Lanka to announce themselves as serious contenders for the Super Six phase.

In the tournament's biggest surprise to date, the Sri Lankans were scattered by the gentle leg-breaks of Collins Obuya, an unknown 21-year-old who eclipsed Muttiah Muralitharan's familiar razzle-dazzle. After Sri Lanka's pursuit of 210 had ended on 157 all out, their captain, Sanath Jayasuriya, called it the worst day of his career.

This was a correspondingly euphoric moment for Kenyan cricket, a memorable win that went a long way towards repairing the damage caused by New Zealand's refusal to come to Nairobi for last Friday's forfeited match.

Whatever the perceived dangers, it would have been hard to imagine a cosier environment than the old colonial Gymkhana ground, filled with politely passionate Kenyan support. Now the Kenyans have effectively won both their Pool B matches over big- name opposition.

If they can claim another victory over Bangladesh on Saturday - a feat they have managed four times in as many attempts in Kenya - Steve Tikolo's men will hold a guaranteed total of 16 points, enough to give them a healthy chance of progressing. Bacher, the tournament director, would certainly approve of that.

In truth, yesterday was a pretty ordinary game, but a fabulous occasion for Nairobi, a city whose feel-good factor has been rocketing since the unpopular President Moi was ousted in a democratic election two months ago.

Jayasuriya probably erred when he put the home side in, but it is worth remembering that in Sri Lanka's previous match, they skittled Canada for only 36. This time Chaminda Vaas was almost as swiftly into the action, winning an lbw decision against Ravindu Shah with his second ball.

Sri Lanka had less success with the other opener, the wicketkeeper Kennedy Otieno, who opted for a simple block-bash philosophy. His best stroke was a mammoth six over long-on off Vaas, but when he fell for 60, top-edging another mighty heave, the visitors seemed well on top.

No one else was able to pass 26. Yet the fact that Kenya were allowed to turn 112 for four into 210 for nine reflected some lackadaisical cricket from Sri Lanka, who fielded messily and generally seemed happy to let Muralitharan do all the work.

Their coach, Dav Whatmore, later admitted that "there seemed to be an element of 'leave it to the next person'."

The target was an awkward one, particularly on a pitch that began to "die" in mid-afternoon, growing slower and slower until it was almost impossible to time the ball. Should the batsmen play percentage cricket or press on in an effort to fire up their net run-rate?

This quandary was reflected in the first and most crucial wicket, that of Jayasuriya himself. Looking for the lofted on-drive, then checking his shot, Jayasuriya only succeeded in helping the ball gently into the hands of midwicket.

The scent of an upset was already in the air when his partner, Marvan Atapattu, drove too early and dragged one on to his stumps. Then Obuya ripped through the middle order, who were caught cold after 2.5 weeks without a knock.

As if cowed by the challenge of this unheralded team, Sri Lanka handed away their wickets with an air of apology, like pamphleteers outside a tube station. After each success the Kenyans converged into a dancing huddle, their bright red-and- green outfits recalling the giant octopus from the opening ceremony.

Kenya's win continues a tradition of World Cup upsets, from their own 1996 triumph over the West Indies to Bangladesh's unseating of Pakistan in 1999. There is a difference this time, because this result might have a bearing on the rest of the tournament.

With Canada and Namibia providing scares of their own in the last week, the minnows appear to be growing teeth.

Top The Electronic Telegraph


Kenya stun Sri Lanka with electric fielding display
CricInfo - 24 February 2003

Kenya pulled off the shock of the tournament with a remarkable 53 run victory against the Sri Lankans at Nairobi on Monday.

Sri Lanka, firm favourites after three straight victories, were bundled out for 157 in 45 overs chasing the 210 for nine scored by Kenya early in the day.

Cheered on by a capacity partisan home crowd, the Kenya bowlers and fielders produced an electric display in the field, bowling tightly and fielding brilliantly.

Leg-spinner Collins Obuya was adjudged man of the match for a superb spell of bowling, running through the Sri Lankan middle order to claim five wickets for 24 from ten overs, the best ever figures by a Kenyan.

Only Aravinda de Silva, who scored 41 from 53 deliveries, provided any resistance on a slow pitch.

Earlier, Kennedy Otieno smashed an entertaining 60 from 88 balls, hitting eight fours and two sixes as Kenya cobbled together their moderate total.

It was Kenya's first win against Sri Lanka, their tenth ODI victory, and their greatest day since they defeated West Indies at Poona in the 1996 World Cup.

The win leaves Kenya, who picked up four points after New Zealand forfeited their game for security reasons, with a good chance of qualifying for the Super Sixes.

They now move into second position in the table with two matches to play, one of which will be against the out-of-sorts Bangladeshis.

Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign may not lie in tatters but they now face a fight to qualify for the second round with difficult matches to be played against West Indies and South Africa.

Jayasuriya (3) failed for the second consecutive innings after chipping a catch to wide mid on.

Marvan Atapattu (23) started the innings in glorious fashion with a brace of boundaries but eventually came unstuck as he played onto his stumps to gift Thomas Odoyo his 50th ODI wicket.

Hashan Tillakaratne (23), dropped in the gully when he had made eight, looked to have settled during a 32 run partnership with veteran Aravinda de Silva before hoisting a catch into the deep off Obuya.

De Silva counterattacked in characteristically positive fashion, pulling a six high over square leg.

Mahela Jayawardene (5), desperately looking for form before key matches against West Indies and South Africa, could have been run out early on were it not for a fumble in the covers.

But the rusty looking right-hander did not make Kenya pay for a rare fielding slip, poking a catch straight back to Obuya off a leading edge as he tried to flick a full toss through the leg- side.

Kumar Sangakkara (5) was then athletically caught by a tumbling Otieno behind the stumps and when De Silva was caught behind whilst trying to force Obuya through the off-side Sri Lanka were in dire straits on 112 for six.

Russel Arnold (25*), the last remaining specialist batsman, struggled to hold the innings together but he was unable to claim back the initiative as wickets continued to fall.

Vaas (4) was caught and bowled and then Prabath Nissanka (2) and Muttiah Muralitharan (10) were well-caught on the boundary edge of the skipper Steve Tikolo.

When Dilhara Fernando missed a reverse sweep and was bowled the Kenyan's victory was complete and the wild celebrations commenced.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka had elected to field first against the Kenyans, a surprise decision on an excellent batting surface that promised plenty of runs.

The move looked to have been justified when Chaminda Vaas grabbed a second ball wicket, trapping Ravindu Shah lbw with a curving inswinger.

But Otieno reacted aggressively to the early loss, swinging Vaas for two towering sixes and a flurry of boundaries, dashing Sri Lankan hopes of another early finish.

Nevertheless Sri Lanka made inroads: Brijal Patel (12) edged an off-cutter behind and Muralitharan trapped star batsman Steve Tikolo (10) lbw with a sharply turning off-break.

When Otieno was snared in the deep the innings then lost momentum with Hitesh Modi and former captain Maurice Odumbe struggling against the Sri Lankan spinners, adding 40 runs in 10 overs.

The left-handed Modi, dropped at fine leg on nine and missed again by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps on 11, scored 26 from 56 deliveries before being bowled as he tried to reverse sweep Muralitharan.

Thomas Odoyo (6) was then caught behind off Vaas after the left- armer was pulled back into the attack for his second spell of the day.

Vaas, the tournament's leading wicket-taker, finished with three for 41 from his ten overs.

Odumbe (26) was brilliantly caught by Russel Arnold at mid-wicket and Tony Suji was bowled by Muralitharan to leave Kenya in trouble on 178 for 8.

However, Peter Ongondo then finished the innings with a flourish scoring 20 from 18 balls and adding 32 in 4.1 overs with Collins Obuya (11*).

It appeared that Sri Lanka would stroll to victory but no one had anticipated such and electric display from the Kenyans in the field.

Top CricInfo