Australia through but Kenya restore pride


BANGALORE – Reigning champions Australia eased into the quarter-finals of the World Cup with an 60-run win against Group A makeweights Kenya at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. Kenya, chasing 325 for an unlikely win, were held to 264 for six for their fifth defeat in as many group matches.
Kenya faced a daunting chase considering their previous best total in this group was the 198 they’d made last time out in a five-wicket defeat by Canada. Opener Alex Obanda struck fast bowler Shaun Tait for two superb sixes, flaying him over point and driving him high over long-on to the delight of neutral fans in a crowd of 13,600.
But he was bowled for 14, swinging across a Tait full toss. Kenya were soon 46 for three when a mix-up between the Obuya brothers saw David run out. Collins Obuya (98 not out) and Tanmay Mishra (72) kept Australia at bay with career-best innings in a fourth-wicket stand of 115, although the pair’s run-rate never suggested an upset win.
Mishra made a 63-ball fifty featuring a six and six fours. It was his second half-century in as many innings following his 51 against Canada. The pair played Australia’s lead spin duo of Steven Smith and Jason Krejza with relative ease, striking several boundaries off the slow bowlers whose combined 14 wicketless overs cost 72 runs.
Mishra fell for a career-best 72 after a needless run out saw him beaten by Michael Clarke’s direct hit from backward point. Collins Obuya completed his fifty in style with a huge six over long-off against Shane Watson and later pulled him high above square leg. He needed three off the last ball, from Tait, to get a hundred but could manage a single.
In all he faced 129 balls with three sixes and nine fours. “There was a bit of rust even with batting and the fielding,” said Australia skipper Ricky Ponting whose team hadn’t had a full match run-out for over two weeks after last weekend’s clash with Sri Lanka was rained off. “But full credit to Kenya, they fought really well. We tried a few different things today and hopefully we’ve shaken off the rust ahead of the Canada game.”
Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande said: “At the end of the day we came out second, so it’s a little disappointing. The worst thing is we have only one more game left.” Earlier Australia, now unbeaten in 33 matches at the World Cup dating back to 1999, lost three wickets for 16 runs to slump to 143 for four.
But a stand of 114 between vice-captain Clarke (93) and the returning Michael Hussey (54) helped Australia finish on 324 for six. Clarke, on the ground where he made a hundred on Test debut against India in 2004, struck a six and seven fours during a composed 80-ball knock before he holed out off fast bowler Nehemiah Odhiambo, who took three for 57.
Opening batsman Brad Haddin, dropped twice off tough chances early in his innings, made 65 and helped skipper Ricky Ponting add 89 for the second wicket. Haddin was caught at deep midwicket by Rakep Patel off Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande, who took two for nine in eight balls with his off-spinners. Ponting was lbw to leg-spinner Collins Obuya for 36.
Hussey, in at the fall of the fourth wicket, was playing his first match of the tournament after recovering from a hamstring problem and getting a late summons as a replacement for injured fast bowler Doug Bollinger. Ponting happy to get back on the pitch: Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said Sunday it was good to get out in the middle against Kenya and “blow some cobwebs off” after more than two weeks with very little cricket.
The defending champions, whose win takes them through to the World Cup quarter-finals, scored 324 in their 50 overs and Kenya never looked like catching them, finishing on 264 for six to lose by 60 runs.
It was Australia’s first completed match since they beat New Zealand on February 25 in Nagpur. Their clash with Sri Lanka on March 5 was ruined by rain. “Bit of rust on the team today, even with the batting. We got 320 but a few of us were a little bit rusty and needed some time in the middle,” said Ponting.