| Kenya’s Ravindu Shah jumps into the arms of teammate Collins Obuya after Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak was dismissed for a duck during their tie in Bloemfontein Wednesday. (Reuters)
Bloemfontein: Kenya recorded a famous seven wicket victory over fellow-Africans Zimbabwe on Wednesday to become the first non-Test nation to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.
Thomas Odoyo struck a powerful 43 off 40 balls with eight fours as Kenya easily reached their meagre victory target of 134 from exactly 26 overs in the Super Six match. He shared an unbeaten partnership of 73 with Maurice Odumbe (38 not out).
Kenya, who have still to meet the unbeaten defending champions Australia in the second round, will play India in the semi-finals. Zimbabwe were eliminated.
“Our target was the Super Sixes but then we reviewed our target,” said captain Steve Tikolo. Kenya took 10 points through to the second round after beating Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. They were awarded four points when New Zealand refused to play in Nairobi because of security fears.
“We just decided to go out and be positive,” Odumbe added. “Normally low scores are very tricky so we just decided if there was a ball to hit we would hit it. “It’s a great feeling and I’m sure people back home are happy.”
For Zimbabwe only Andy Flower came to terms with the slow pitch and accurate bowling, scoring 63 as Zimbabwe were dismissed for 133 off 44.1 overs. It was their lowest total in 15 matches against Kenya, who had never beaten them before.
Opening bowler and Man-of-the-Match Martin Suji dismissed Craig Wishart (5), Alistair Campbell (7) and Grant Flower (7). Leg spinner Collins Obuya then had wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu caught behind for three with the fifth ball of his first over, Dion Ebrahim stumped for 13 and captain Heath Streak caught at slip for a duck.
Andy Blignaut was run out for four after a horrible mix-up with Andy Flower and Flower was bowled by Odoyo.
“Credit must go to Kenya, they stuck to their disciplines as they have done all tournament,” said Streak. “Unfortunately our batters got out to some soft shots.”
Campbell, who has not played for six weeks and was recruited from the television commentary box after Mark Vermeulen fractured his skull, looked rusty before being trapped in front by Suji. Grant Flower became Suji’s third victim when he slashed at a wide delivery and was caught behind. Zimbabwe slumped to 66 for four in the 21st over when Taibu edged a leg break from Obuya to Otieno.
The same combination accounted for Ebrahim, who ventured past a delivery and was easily stumped.
The most avoidable dismissal of the innings followed nine overs later when Andy Flower and Blignaut sprinted towards the same end. Otieno dashed to the other end and ran Blignaut out for four.
Streak had yet to score when he edged a ball from Obuya to Ravindu Shah at slip, and Zimbabwe’s hopes of posting a respectable total ended when Flower was bowled around his legs by seamer Odoyo to make it 114 for eight in the 36th over.
Captain Steve Tikolo wrapped up the tail with his off-spin by having Henry Olonga caught by a diving Maurice Odumbe at short mid-wicket for three and then bowling Douglas Marillier for a dogged 21.
Kenya made an uncertain start to their reply when Shah was dropped twice and survived a confident appeal for caught behind before being run out for 14 at the non-striker’s end in the eighth over.
Fast bowler Blignaut laid a hand on Otieno’s fierce drive, and the ball hit the stumps with Shah out of his ground.
Two overs later Tikolo, on two, attempted a pull shot to a delivery from Blignaut and skied it to Streak in the covers.
Kenya were 62 for three in the 17th over after Otieno was trapped in front for 19 by Olonga.
But any thoughts Zimbabwe had of making a comeback into the match were snuffed out by Odoyo and Odumbe. Odumbe’s innings lasted only 20 balls and contained eight fours. (Reuters)