Voice of Sport

Despite good effort by bowlers Kenya implode to 61 all out to crash 5-0 in series

The visitors had lost the previous four games by equally large margins: nine wickets, 155 runs, 214 runs and 118 runs, respectively


KENYA imploded in a chase of 170, folding for a mere 61, as Pakistan ‘A’ completed a 108-run win in the fifth and final game in Lahore to sweep the 45-over match series 5-0.

Fifth match Pakistan ‘A’ 5-0 Kenya

Pakistan ‘A’ 169 (Mukhtar 78, James Ngoche 2-20, Shem Ngoche 2-23) beat Kenya 61 (Zia-ul-Haq 4-8, Hamza 2-3, Ajmal 2-25) by 108 runs

Kenya’s bowlers signed off with a good performance, bowling Pakistan ‘A’ out for the first time in the series. They used the overcast foggy conditions well and bowled with a composed line and length. Their discipline, however, was not backed by the fielding, which remained unresponsive with casual chances being dropped.

Caught behind

Opting to bat first, Pakistan ‘A’ suffered an early blow when Mohammad Rizwan was caught behind off the first ball of the day. Mukhtar Ahmed top-scored with 78, his second successive fifty, but was dropped twice in his 115-ball innings. The next highest score in the innings was 16, from Babar Azam and Saeed Ajmal.

Kenya negotiated the opening two overs but the resistance did not last long as the left-arm pace duo of Zia-ul-Haq and Mir Hamza ripped the line-up, reducing them to 14 for 7. Opener Alex Obanda fell to a stunning catch when Saeed Ajmal, standing at mid-on, stretched to his right for a one-handed take.

Outside leg

Gurdeep Singh, captain Shem Ngoche, Nehemiah Odhiambo and Morris Ouma were the four batsmen to fall for ducks, and only Emmanuel Bundi – 15* off 42 – reached a double-figure score. Ajmal, who was poor with his line bowling outside leg, wrecked the tail with his two wickets to wrap up proceeding within 21.3 overs.

Fourth match Pakistan ‘A’ 4-0 Kenya

In this match, the spotlight was on senior Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. Pakistan Cricket Board Illegal Bowling Action Committee member and national selector Muhammad Akram had earlier said he would be satisfied with Ajmal’s first outing against Kenya as the player bid to get cleared by the International Cricket Council for his bowling action.

Ajmal was named for Pakistan ‘A’s last two matches against Kenya so that his modified action could be assessed in a match situation before being sent for another official Test.

Scalp

The off-spinner picked up a lone scalp in his six-over spell as Pakistan ‘A’ won their fourth one-dayer – reduced to 28-overs-a-side due to foggy conditions – by 118 runs against Kenya at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

“I’m 90% satisfied with what I’ve seen from Ajmal’s bowling today and he will only improve from here,” Akram told The Express Tribune.

Lethal touch

“He has developed new varieties in his bowling, which will help him maintain his lethal touch in case he doesn’t have the same bite in his ‘doosra’ delivery. He has been trying to bowl a carom ball and the one with the seam up.”

Set a target of 224, Kenya were bowled out for 106 in 27.5 overs. Nelson Odhiambo scored 22 as captain Fawad Alam and Mukhtar Ahmed picked up two wickets apiece.

Chipped

Earlier, Mukhtar starred with the bat as his 62-ball 87 knocked, studded with two sixes and 11 boundaries, propelled Pakistan ‘A’ to 224-5.

Iftikhar Ahmed chipped in with 50 off 55 balls, while Odhiambo and Emmanuel Bundi took two wickets each.

After the match, Ajmal said he felt really well playing after three months. “I’m happy that I’m out again on the ground after three months and felt really comfortable,” he said. “I’ve come back after a big gap so my bowling will improve with more match practice.”

Hard work

The 37-year-old has been working hard on his modified action since the last several weeks and said he feels that he will be cleared in time to be considered for the World Cup.

“With the amount of hard work I’ve put in, I’m 100% sure that I’ll be let off the hook after the second official test. I’m still waiting for my visa and as soon as I’ll receive that, I’ll leave for Chennai,” concluded Ajmal.

Meanwhile, Saqlain Mushtaq was expected to arrive in Pakistan today to help Ajmal and Muhammad Hafeez in their rehabilitation process before going for official tests.

– Additional reporting by tribune.com.pk