A remarkable match in a patch of remarkable games. Reports of the ball turning square from early on; it was arguably, the 43 runs Ireland scored before Varaiya was introduced that won them the game. Thereafter the spinners dominated - although surprisingly, Porterfield waited a full 10 overs before bringing on Dockrell. The four spinners on show took all but four wickets: Varaiya 11/73, Ngoche 4/39, van der Merwe 11/68, Dockrell, 9/87. The latter battled a stomach complaint throughout the second innings though you'd hardly know it from his figures.
Amongst the first 38 wickets to fall there were only two knocks of substance. Ragheb Aga scored 46 in the first innings, getting Kenya first innings points after a collapse to 7/50 had made it seem unlikely. Aga is an interesting story. First in the team 8 years ago, he failed to crack county cricket, and is back with Kenya. Reports (and recent results) are indicative of a useful player in a team that needs one. The highest score though, came from the experienced head of Ed Joyce: an attacking 54 (64 balls) that ought to have been more. He retired hurt overnight only to appear just before lunch anyway as Ireland collapsed a second time.
Fortunately for them, Kenya collapsed twice too. At 8/36, Kenya was only a third of their way to the target when Varaiya and Nelson Odhiambo took the crease. But, sensible play took them closer and closer, changing the game from a statistical anomaly into something the (very) few who witnessed will no doubt long remember. Odhiambo was caught (32) at short mid-wicket at 9/94, still 25 short; Ngoche - not one for doing it in singles - smote 13 off 8 balls to bring the target to 11. Unfortunately Varaiya popped a ball up for short-fine-leg the next over.
Kenya will be pleased to have made a contest of a game they were expected to be out-matched in, Ireland might wonder, notwithstanding the pitch, what is wrong with their batting that it continues to collapse so badly. Nevertheless, they once again took the points and are well placed to make the final at year's end.
Their failure to qualify for the WT20 qualifiers aside, the U.A.E. have been in outstanding form recently, including in a moral victory over reigning I-Cup champions Afghanistan. Scotland will be missing Coetzer for this game - he is playing in the BPL - and his experience will be sorely missed on pitches that proves difficult for England. The ratings suggest a Scottish victory, and they still have the team to do so. My sense is that an upset for the gulf state on the back of their high scoring middle order, is more likely.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
Idle Summers 15th February, 2012 07:55:15 [#]