From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.34 :: NO.09 :: Mar. 03, 2011

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CRICKET / NEW ZEALAND V KENYA (GROUP A)

One-sided contest

It was a walk in the park for New Zealand at Chepauk. The Kiwis finished the match in a jiffy after bowling out Kenya for a paltry 69. By Raakesh Natraj.

AP

Hamish Bennett appeals successfully for lbw against Kenya's Seren Waters. Bennett picked up four wickets in the match.

New Zealand finally tasted a win in the sub-continent, mauling Kenya by 10 wickets in its World Cup opener in Chennai. New Zealand was blanked in successive away series against Bangladesh and India, but the Kiwis put their recent dread of the dust bowl behind them, at least temporarily, with a win in a match that lasted just 33.1 overs.

Put in to bat, Kenya proved unwitting advocates of ICC's decision to cull participation at the 2015 edition in Australia-New Zealand to the top 10 teams. The Kenyans slumped from 40 for one to be bowled out for 69 in 23.5 overs — the fifth lowest total in World Cup history — with seven of their batsmen dismissed before they could make more than three runs.

Captain Jimmy Kamande acknowledged that his side was still a work in progress, but side-,stepped questions in the post-match press conference about the batting ailments that were seemingly chronic.

When the gathered media insinuated that a tendency to play across the line was a liability that was unpardonable at this level — a point that was already made and made quite effectively by the scorecard — Kamande came up with the stock response. He said he hoped his side would learn from the defeat, again, a response that could not have been any different, considering that he was addressing the media few minutes before scheuled lunch, with the match already lost.

New Zealand came into the match with an injury cloud hanging over, at least three of its players. Daniel Vettori, Jacob Oram and Hamish Bennett were all doubtful starters, having played little or no part in the practice games. Nathan McCullum soon joined the list, after he was hospitalised and discharged a day before the match.

All four were however declared fit to start and McCullum even went on to open the bowling with his off-spin. It was the pace and directness of the Kiwi pace bowling unit, manned entirely by Hamish Bennett and Tim Southee, that caused maximum damage.

Southee and Bennett operated from wide of the wicket and kept the ball full, and the slightest deviation that the pitch was willing to part with, put the Kenyans in a spot.

With the batsmen choosing to flick and glide anything that was pitched up, it left them vulnerable to leg before or getting their stumps splayed in case they missed the line of the ball, which was most of the time. Though Kenya managed a decent start, the last nine wickets fell for the addition of just 29 runs.

Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill knocked off the required runs in quick time, undoubtedly with an eye on the run rate.

The lopsided nature of the contest would suggest that the Kiwis would not read too much into the margin of the win, but a win to set the campaign rolling, especially at the site of their recent failings, would do nicely.

THE SCORES

Kenya 69 in 23.5 overs (Southee three for 13, Bennett four for 16, Oram three for two) lost to New Zealand 72 for no loss in eight overs (M. Guptill 39 not out, B. McCullum 26 not out).



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