From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 24 :: No. 44 :: Nov. 03 - 09, 2001
TRI-SERIES/SOUTH AFRICA V KENYA
The host runs riotG.VISWANATH
IT was a near perfect finish to the first, but long part of the tri-series, for South Africa at Newlands. There was just one setback for it on the way to the final when the Indians pulled off a major victory by 41 runs at the SuperSport Park, Centurion. Pollock's band of batsmen and bowlers put together a solid display that many teams would not have cared to strive for in the first place.
The South Africans simply crushed the Kenyans by 208 runs, the home team's best effort in one-day internationals. The main contributors for South Africa were batsmen Gary Kirsten (124), Neil McKenzie (131 not out) and Mark Boucher (51 not out) and bowler Charl Langeveldt, who took four for 21 in only his second international match for South Africa.
The moment the South Africans put on board their second best aggregate in limited-over internationals, after electing to bat, victory was assured for them. It was only a matter of how many runs the Kenyans would lose by. Here again the South African bowlers, almost the team's second string, remained focussed and did not let the Kenyans come into the picture. They simply steamrolled the opposition after making a tournament high of 354.
With 17 points (16 points for wins and a bonus point earned against Kenya at Benoni) from four matches, the home team became the first one to qualify for the final. The South African captain, Pollock, had given hints of making changes in the team in East London. In the event he rested Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini and Lance Klusener and batsman Boeta Dippenaar from the team that defeated India for the second time in the league at Buffalo Park.
The Kenyans appeared to be keyed up for a match which they saw as a preparation for their last league game against India. But in less than 48 hours before their encounter with South Africa, the Kenyans lost the services of Sandeep Gupta and Joseph Angara. Gupta declared himself unfit because of an Achilles tendon problem and Angara, who had bowled Kenya to an upset win against India, had to return home to attend to his mother's funeral.
Angara's absence was a big blow, but it's highly doubtful if his presence in the Kenyan bowling line-up would have made a difference to the match or to the brilliant batting performance of the South Africans. Everything went right for the home team. Pollock won the toss and elected to bat. It was another chance for someone like Gary Kirsten to play a long innings. The left-hander from Western Province, one of the strongest teams in the Currie Cup and other competitions run by the United Cricket Board South Africa (UCBSA), was not certain of being picked for the match because of a thigh strain.
But he was cleared to play before the match by the team physio. Obviously, Pollock did not want one of his openers to go into the final, with any injury concerns. Kirsten is such an important component of South Africa's batting line-up. His replacement for the previous two matches, Boeta Dippenaar, scored two half-centuries, but he had to make way for Kirsten.
With the pitch as good as any seen in the tri-series and the Kenyan bowlers, not really in the class of greats, a high South African total was on the cards. Martin Suji and Thomas Odoyo put down catches off their own bowling in their first spells. The life to Herschelle Gibbs did not prove costly, but the one given to Kirsten did, as he settled in nicely to carve his 12th century in one-day internationals.
But it was Neil McKenzie who gave a real thrust to the South African score. The Kenyans looked completely out of sorts when the right-left combination of McKenzie and Kirsten ticked over smoothly. The promotion of McKenzie to No. 3 worked wonders. The only way the Kenyans could have broken the partnership was if either of the batsmen had decided to throw his wicket away. That was what happened when Kirsten after making 124 (163m, 131b, 12x4, 2x6) gave a catch to Thomas Odoyo off mediumpacer Martin Suji.
The second wicket pair had added 207 runs, a record for South Africa against any country. The Kirsten-McKenzie partnership obliterated the record held by Jacques Kallis and Hershcelle Gibbs. They had made 179 against the West Indies at St. John's last year. In the process, Kirsten joined the 6000-club in one-day internationals. He did so when his score was 62.
The South African captain, Pollock, came at the fall of Kirsten's wicket and lifted a straight six. This was the beginning of a run riot with Mark Boucher's slam bang tactics getting him 51 runs off 20 balls with two 4s and four 6s. His 50 was the fourth fastest in terms of balls faced (19) in limited over internationals. The batsmen before him now are Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya, Australia's Simon O'Donnell and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi.
Boucher's onslaught took South Africa's run rate beyond seven an over. The unbroken fourth wicket pair McKenzie and Boucher added 77 runs in 22 minutes, Boucher going after Thomas Odoyo in the last over. There was the possibility of South Africa reaching its highest in one-day internationals, but it finally fell short of it by 10 runs. The total of 363 for three that South Africa made against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in the recent series, stayed as its record.
The only spark in the Kenyan innings was a 57-ball 44 by Thomas Odoyo. He hit two 6s and four 4s before Justin Kemp trapped him leg before. Gibbs and Kallis held outstanding catches from David Obuya and Toni Suji before Langeveldt got into the action and picked up four wickets. The Kenyans made 146 in 45.3 overs, with Hitesh Modi remaining undefeated on 26.
South Africa: G. Kirsten c Odoyo b M. Suji 124; H. Gibbs c Tikolo b Odoyo 16; N. McKenzie (not out) 131; S. Pollock c Odoyo b Patel 19; M. Boucher (not out) 51; Extras (b-1, lb-5, nb-4, w-3) 13. Total (for three wickets in 50 overs) 354.
Fall of wickets: 1-39, 2-246, 3-277.
Kenya bowling: M. Suji 10-0-50-1, Odoyo 10-0-76-1, Kamande 3-0-26-0, T. Suji 4-0-36-0, Patel 7-0-50-1, C. Obuya 10-0-62-0, Tikolo 6-0-48-0.
Kenya: K. Obuya b Kallis 10; R. Shah c Boucher b Pollock 6; S. Tikolo c Boucher b Hayward 11; T. Odoyo lbw b Kemp 44; D. Obuya c Gibbs b Boje 10; H. Modi (not out) 26; M. Suji c Boje b Kemp 6; A. Suji c Kallis b Langeveldt 13; C. Obuya c Boucher b Langeveldt 0; B. Patel c Boucher b Langeveldt 6; J. Kamande b Langeveldt 0; Extras (b-1, lb-5, nb-2, w-6) 14. Total (in 45.3 overs) 146.
Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-25, 3-59, 4-89, 5-94, 6-106, 7-133, 8-133, 9-146.
South Africa bowling: Pollock 6-1-10-1, Hayward 6-0-19-1, Kallis 5-1-24-1, Langeveldt 9.3-0-21-4, Boje 10-1-42-1, Kemp 7-1-14-2, McKenzie 2-0-10-0.
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