In a match-up between eliminated teams, Zimbabwe put up a strong all-round display to defeat Kenya by 161 runs at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in their final fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Zimbabwe ended with its second win of the tournament while Kenya return home winless.
Elton Chigumbura, the Zimbabwe skipper, won the toss and decided to bat first. Kenya were being led by Steve Tikolo, who was playing his final match before retirement from the game. Brendan Taylor and Regis Chakabva started slowly but steadily for Zimbabwe before both the batsmen were dismissed in successive overs. Vusi Sibanda and Tatenda Taibu took on the responsibilities from the 10th over.
The partnership frustrated the Kenyan bowlers as both the batsmen rotated the strike well and even picked up boundaries every now and then. In the 28th over, the pair decided it was time to attack and 15 runs were scored with two fours for Taibu and a six that also raised his fifty for Sibanda. The next over fetched another 10 runs with Sibanda getting two more boundaries. A poor mix up between the two, however, resulted in Sibanda being run out in the 30th over.
Craig Ervine and Taibu sauntered along at close to a run a ball before Taibu fell as he tried to reverse sweep James Ngoche but missed the ball and was trapped in front. Ervine was joined by his captain Chigumbura and the partnership was responsible for Zimbabwe getting more than 300. Chigumbura was unsure early on in his innings while Ervine, as always, found the gaps. Chigumbura got his confidence back with a six over long off in the 41st over. Ervine reached a superb fifty in the 45th over with a four and followed that up with another and Zimbabwe crossed 250. Chigumbura was dismissed in the 47th over as Tanmay Mishra judged a catch to perfection just in front of the boundary ropes.
Greg Lamb is known for his defensive batting but today was different. He along with Prosper Utseya, who had come in at the fall of Ervine’s wicket in the 48th over, played cameo knocks towards the end of the innings. Utseya was particularly severe on Elijah Otieno who bowled the 50th over and carted him for three fours and a six in the first four balls. Zimbabwe were happy with a total of 308/6 in 50 overs.
Kenya needed to bat well like they did against Australia to have any chance of overhauling Zimbabwe’s total. However, they got off to a poor start as the Obuya brothers were dismissed by the 4th over with hardly any runs on the board. Steve Tikolo played a couple of lovely flicks in his last innings but was trapped in front by Ray Price. Tanmay Mishra and Alex Obanda were dismissed in the space of an over to leave Kenya in deep trouble at 44/5 in the 12th over. Only obdurate batting from Thomas Odoyo, Rakep Patel and Nehemiah Odhiambo ensured Kenya crossed 100. Odhiambo was the top scorer with an unbeaten 44 as Kenya were dismissed for 147 in the 36th over. The Zimbabwe spinners picked up 8 wickets for just 116 runs in 30 overs to leave the Kenyans in disarray.
Zimbabwe will take positives from this World Cup. They have a young team with a lot of potential. Their batting is a bit inconsistent but they will learn from playing more matches. Their spinners were outstanding except in the matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Kenya failed to win a match and have a lot to improve in all the departments of the game. More match practice is what these teams need for their cricketers to excel in the future.