Kenya’s batsmen dig in as Ireland pushes for victory

Mon, Oct 13, 2008 11:34 AM

But having collapsed earlier in the day and following on, the home team put up a sterner resistance the second time around and finished the day on 146-2, still 246 runs behind.

But Steve Tikolo's team cares little for runs at this stage as it does not need to win the game in order to progress to the final. Survival will be the name of the game on Tuesday when play resumes and if Tikolo and friends can resist the Irish onslaught, they will be making their way to South Africa for next month's final against Namibia.

At the close Tikolo was still there on 41 and with him was 18-year-old Seren Waters, whose impressive knock of 65 not out (nine fours) has belied the fact that he has been making his first-class debut.

Earlier, Kyle McCallan and Regan West had taken four wickets apiece as Kenya was dismissed for 186. In the face of Ireland's huge first-innings total of 576-4 declared, Kenyaa's batsmen had no answer and as the pitch offered some turn for the slow bowlers, off-spinner McCallan and left-armer West did the business.

Only Tikolo (44) and Thomas Odoyo (32) looked like causing the Irish any trouble and it was no surprise when Kenya was invited to follow on when it was dismissed 392 runs short of Ireland's total.

It looked like Kenya might crumble again with Trent Johnston making a double breakthrough to leave the home side on 76-2. But Tikolo and Waters dug in and have put on 70 runs so far for the third wicket, making the visitors work hard in the field.

But tomorrow is another day and all Kenya has to do is survive. With Ireland pushing for outright victory, expect to see fielders crowding the bat and plenty of pressure being heaped on the batsmen. At stake is a place in the final so it looks like another enthralling day of Intercontinental Cup cricket is on the cards.

Note: the venue and exact date of the final will depend on the result of the Kenya v Ireland match.

The ICC Intercontinental Cup has quickly grown in stature and profile since its inception four years ago and now the ICC's premier first-class tournament is an integral part of the Associate Members' cricket schedule.

Having previously been designed around a two-group, three-day format, the event has evolved into an eight-team, round-robin and truly global tournament featuring four-day cricket which gives those teams who do not play Test cricket the chance to experience the longer form of the game.

Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious in both events since then, beating Kenya in the 2005 decider and Canada in the 2006-07 event.

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