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First blood to Zimbabwe

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 27 – Kenya lost her first One Day International (ODI) to Zimbabwe by 109 runs at the Mombasa Sports Club on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer and Ray Price took two wickets each as Kenya could only foster a 197 run response after the tourists set them a benchmark of  307.

Kenya captain Steve Tikolo took two wickets as Zimbabwe cruised to 306 in their innings with Elton Chigumbura (79) and Vusi Sibanda (77) featuring prominently.

Kenya could not have wished to a worse start to their innings after their lynchpins captain Steve Tikolo and Waters were dismissed for 37 and 32 respectively.

The rapid dismissal of opener Maurice Ouma (3) and the usually dependable Alex Obanda (6) by Chigumbura and Obuya, stumped for naught, set the alarm bells ringing.

With Kenya 41-2 after 10 overs Tikolo and Waters steadied the ship somewhat with a partnership of 26 that ended in the 15th over after Waters was deceived by a Price delivery which knocked off the stumps to leave Kenya at 64-2.

Tikolo was the next one off after he sent his shot from Cremer skywards only for the opposing wicket keeper Forster Mutizwa to collect and leave Kenya struggling at 92-5.

Jimmy Kamande and Hiren Varaiya combined for a partnership of 97 to steer Kenya through 20 overs before Keith Dabengwa brought it to an end to leave Kenya on 184-7.

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Hamilton Masakadza and Sibanda set their side on their way with a 111 run partnership that was disbanded by Varaiya.

Masakdza was dismissed for 69 in the 22nd over after what looked to be an invincible performance at the crease where he steadily repelled Kenya’s tame bowling.

Williams who came on for Masakdza was the next one to go after blasting a Kamande delivery straight up in the air to the delight of  Varaiya who gathered well to send the batsman back to the pavilion and Zimbabwe at 163-2 with 13 overs remaining.

Mutizwa and Chigumbura reasserted Zimbabwe’s authority with bullish batting that continued to heap pressure on the home side and raise further queries about their ability to trouble opposing batsmen.

Mutizwa hit a four off his first ball wile Chigumbura netted two sixes in the 44th over and a commanding 218-4 in the 44th.

There was some brief respite for Kenya after Mutizwa was run out for 20 but Chigumbura continued with his belligerent self with two consecutive sixes with Dabengwa getting into the act with a half dozen of his own taking Zimbabwe to 263-5 with three overs remaining.

Dabengwa’s and Chigumbura’s dismissal in the closing stages did nothing to affect the outcome of the match.

Tikolo said his side did not bat and bowl well as expected but said they would rectify the mistake before their Thursday’s second match of the five series at the same venue.

Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya was happy with his team’s performance.

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“We need to keep the fire burning by winning the rest of the matches. We need to continue being compliant”, said the captain.

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