Ireland under-19s completed a treble of highly entertaining thrillers when they narrowly edged a determined Kenyan team by 2 wickets in an ICC Global Cricket World Cup qualifiers in Dublin, Ireland yesterday.
The Irish won the toss and elected field on a cloudy morning and they had the Kenyans in early trouble when they removed opener Rahul Vishram for nought in only the first over, but hot-shot Duncan Allan came in and made amends straight away getting into his strides to stroke an admirable 123 off 149 deliveries including 13 boundaries and two sixes to propel Kenya to 222 for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 50 overs.
Allan’s cameo of an inning apart, only skipper Kennedy Ochieng’s 32 and Rushabhvardhan Patel’s 28, the only batsmen to score more than 20 on a forgettable day for the young Africans. Their innings lacked pace and the Irish bowlers stifled the run-rate much to the Kenyans disappointment with 30 overs yielding only 95 runs between Irish spinners Adam Coughlan, George Dockrell and Andrew McBrine.
The East Africans bowling session began well when they reduced the Europeans to 88 for the loss of six wickets in the 30th over and even when the match fell victim to the rain interruption, the Kenyans were still ahead on the Duckworth/Lewis method par score that showed 164 while the Irish were tottering at 137 from 37.3 overs.
A soggy ball and a late rally by the hosts, coupled with the 5-overs batting powerplay restrictions swung the game back to Ireland who finished the job for a further loss of two wickets with 9 balls to spare and leave Kenya still looking for their third win and they slipped out of contention dropping to position seven, one less than the requisite crucial sixth position currently being occupied by USA U19s albeit through a superior net run rate.
The event takes a break today, as the teams travel to Derry where the second leg of matches will be taking place and Kenya will begin that journey of five games in seven days by facing Islanders Papua New Guinea at the New Strabane Park.