Group A: Scotland 170/6 (Sole 33, Berrington 27, Obuya 2-12) defeated Kenya (Karim 51, Gondaria 26, Berrington 3-17, Davey 2-25) 139/8 by 31 runs.
Scotland won the toss, electing to bat first and looking to reverse their fortunes from a tournament opening loss against Singapore. Just as Munsey and Coetzer seemed to be gaining confidence and familiarity with the pitch, both fell within rapid succession. Skipper Kyle Coetzer, an Emerging Cricket Ambassador who recently reached his 6,000th run for Scotland across all three formats, was clean bowled missing the ball while playing a sweep shot against Ngoche. Munsey followed his captain 6 balls later, caught by Gondaria off Oluoch’s bowling after scoring 23 off 15 balls.
With the partnership of Scotland’s reliable middle order of MacLeod and Berrington, an anchor third wicket stand was put on for 53 runs, Before being dismissed, Calum MacLeod registered 3 fours, racking up 30 off 37 balls. Six balls later, Berrington’s innings of 27 off 23 balls came to an end. During his innings, he hit 2 sixes and a four. The recently re-selected Ollie Hairs added 17 runs off just 9 balls. Wicketkeeper Matthew Cross added 24 runs from 14 balls, and Tom Sole brought some big hitting through inventive stroke play at the end of the innings with 33 runs from 18 balls to reach 170 runs.
Facing the tournament’s largest target of 171, the Kenyan top order looked composed and rose to the challenge. Irfan Karim and Alex Obanda put on a glorious partnership after surviving a run out opportunity, rotating the strike, putting away 6 boundaries until Tom Sole’s off breaks got the breakthrough in the 8th over. Dismissed for 12 through a pull to Safyaan Sharif at deep midwicket, Kenya’s first wicket fell at 48-1, bringing the right-handed Dhiren Gondaria to the crease. For the next few overs, Gondaria and Karim took advantage of the momentum, dispatching Berrington, Watt and Tahir for boundaries, leaving Tom Sole as the only bowler to survive being hit to the fence. The wicket came courtesy of Josh Davey in the 13th over – dismissing Gondaria for 2 from just 16 balls, leaving Kenya on 90-2. With Kenyan 2003 World Cup hero Collins Obuya joining Karim at the crease, Irfan brought up his century in the 14th over, at the conclusion of which Kenya needed just 62 runs from 6 overs with 8 wickets remaining.
Seemingly out of nowhere came an over from Richie Berrington, behind just Glen Maxwell, Shakib al Hasan and Mohammad Nabi in the ICC T20 All Rounder rankings, that changed the outlook of the match. It may have seemed strange gameplay to see Berrington’s medium-fast pace utilized on pitches where Mark Watt, Hamza Tahir and Tom Sole were bowling, but the move from Coetzer proved a prudent one. Clean bowling Karim for 51, Berrington’s ball skidded through to the Kenyan batsman’s off stump, dispatching Karim who had scored 7 fours from his 46 balls. In the fifth ball of the same over, he then dismissed new batsman Patel by inviting the drive to Michael Leask, substitute fielding at long off. Obuya and Ngoche came together for 12 balls before Safyaan Sharif employed a full and straight delivery to bowl Obuya, followed by initiating new batsman Kundi being caught by Leask the very next ball. The next over, Berrington tempted Ngoche to edge to the keeper to send him back to the Pavillion – with that, the required run rate had risen to 21.50 with 3 wickets and 2 overs remaining. A tight final over from Sharif then Davey (who took Odhiambo’s wicket) cinched Scotland the victory by 31 runs.
Scotland’s scorecard shows that every member of the playing XI (and even Michael Leask who took 3 catches as a substitute fielder) made contributions. Tom Sole top scored with 33 from only 18 balls, propelling Scotland rapidly to a competitive target. The combination of Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington were a valuable batting lynchpin, making 30(27) and 27(23) respectively. The Scottish bowling efforts saw success for Scotland’s seamers rather than their spin options – Richie Berrington finished with 3-17 from 4 overs – overs which changed the momentum of a game that looked heavily in Kenya’s control. Both Safyaan Sharif and Josh Davey took 2 wickets each, making Scotland’s gameplay very much a team effort.
Kenya’s Irfan Karim took his side close to the line with a fluent 51(46), including 7 fours. Dhiren Gondaria impressed with 26(16). Collins Obuya pitched in with 16 from 10 balls, but vitally had the best Kenyan figures of the day with 2-12 from 3 overs. Oluoch took 2-32 from his full 4 overs.
While Scotland will be pleased with the win they wanted from the start, they will be going back to the drawing board to try and avoid a match as tightly fought as today’s – their playing XI has still yet to achieve the right combination for these conditions. They will next face Papa New Guinea on Monday, while Kenya will play against a less-than-together Bermuda outfit after a match they will gain more confidence from than the scoreline suggests.