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Kamande sends out SOS

BANGALORE, March 14- Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande urged cricket chiefs to give his side more top-class matches in between World Cups after his team slipped to a 60-run defeat at the hands of champions Australia.

Although this was their fifth straight loss, Kenya did reduce Australia to 143 for four before the title holders finished on 324 for six.

But Kenya then batted out their full 50 overs to close on 264 for six, with Collins Obuya (98 not out) and Tanmay Mishra (72) both making career-best scores.

It was an impressive display from a Kenya side who were routed for 69 by New Zealand and whose previous best total at this World Cup was the 198 they made in a five-wicket defeat by fellow non-Test side Canada.

This could be 2003 semi-finalists Kenya’s last World Cup for some time as the International Cricket Council plans to reduce the number of teams from 14 to 10 in 2015.

Kenya have currently to make do with only a handful of matches against top-class opposition between World Cups and Kamande said: "One thing I know for sure is that if we keep playing against the Test-playing nations or their ‘A’ sides the (improved) performances will be there.

"But the thing is after this World Cup you might go and never see these teams again so it becomes very difficult.

"If we’re going to prepare to play Australia again (in a World Cup) in the next five or 10 years it’s going to become very difficult for us (without) regular matches)."

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Australia captain Ricky Ponting, in the build-up to this match, had queried Kenya’s right to take part in a World Cup but Kamande said: "At the end of the day, we would love to be here again.

"Whoever says we don’t deserve to be here that’s his own opinion, but I believe we did a lot to be here."

Meanwhile Obuya was both happy and frustrated after surpassing his previous one-day international best of 86 not out against Afghanistan in Nairobi last year.

"I’m very proud of the innings against the world champions. It was very great to score some runs against them and the not-out makes it even better."

The 29-year-old Obuya needed three off the last ball of the match for a century but had to settle for a single off fast bowler Shaun Tait instead.

"I’m very disappointed but I’ll settle for 98 each and every day against Australia," Obuya said.

Obuya also took the prize wicket of Ponting, lbw for 36 and the leg-spinner said: "If you’re playing a Test team you must have confidence.

"I was hit a couple of times but I was still there (bowling), that’s because of the confidence that I have, that I wanted to do so well."

And a sporting Ponting said: "Kenya’s performance was solid — you’ve got to give them some credit for the way they batted."

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