| Maurice Odumbe en route to his unbeaten 52 Saturday. (AFP)
Johannesburg: Kenya continued its unlikely charge towards the Super Six stage with a 32-run victory over Bangladesh at the Wanderers on Saturday.
There were heroes aplenty for the East African underdogs . The most important contributors were part-time bowlers Maurice Odumbe and captain Steve Tikolo.
Both returned their best-ever ODI figures. Odumbe took four wickets for 38 runs from 10 overs, and Tikolo returned three for 14 off 5.2 overs. Bangladesh always appeared to be in contention, but lost wickets at regular intervals.
Perhaps the hammer-blow for the Bangladeshis came when Mohammed Ashraful was adjudged leg before for just one run off a big inside edge to Martin Suji. The other batsmen fought bravely, but the Kenyans were tenacious, and deserved the win.
The best batsmen for Bangladesh were Tushar Imran, who scored 48, and Akram Khan, who got 44.
Earlier, a fine undefeated 52 by Odumbe took Kenya to 217 for seven. It was a battle for the Kenyan batsmen throughout as the Bangladeshis lifted their game considerably in all departments, except catching.
A wicket in the first over for Monjurul Islam as Kennedy Obuya went for a duck kept Kenya relatively quiet throughout.
Some excellent bowling up front by Tapash Baishya together with great support from the back-up bowlers, held the run rate to reasonable proportions.
Only some good hitting by Odumbe towards the end accelerated things for the Kenyans, and he reached his 50 off the second-last ball of the innings. He was given some support with some lusty hitting by Collins Obuya, who smashed the only six of the innings in his breezy 22.
For the Bangladeshis, Sanwar Hossain returned his best one-day International figures of three for 49. But for the Kenyan run-chase at the end, those figures might have been even better.
Tikolo elected to bat after an exciting few days for the Kenyans after their unlikely victory in Nairobi over the Sri Lankans.
Meanwhile, soon after the victory over Bangladesh on Saturday, Odumbe called for Kenya to be awarded Test status.
The 33-year-old former captain said: “We want to play Test cricket and we don’t mind being with the big boys.
“Initially we will struggle but, unless you are put in that position, you will never know.
“It takes only 10 good balls and voila — things change. We have to be optimistic.”