Pakistan cruise to opening win
Shahid Afridi claimed five wickets as Pakistan got their World Cup campaign off to a solid start with a comprehensive 205-run victory over an ill-disciplined Kenya in Hambantota.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Pakistan slipped to 12 for two inside seven overs, but recovered well to post an imposing 317 for seven.
Kamran Akmal and Younus Khan each compiled half-centuries before a rapid fifth-wicket stand of 118 between Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal took the game away from Kenya.
Misbah eased to 65 from 69 balls, while Umar thumped 71 from just 52 deliveries on his World Cup debut before holing out at long-on in the penultimate over.
Kenya’s bowlers crumbled in spectacular fashion as the innings progressed and conceded a staggering 37 wides - equalling the record in ODIs.
The minnows fared little better with the bat and were dismissed for 112 in the 34th over, with skipper Afridi claiming 5-16 - the best figures by a Pakistan bowler in a World Cup.
“I am a bowler first and then a batsman,” said Afridi, who was beaten to the match award by Umar.
Collins Obuya was the only Kenya batsman to offer any resistance with a boundary-laden 47 as they followed their 10-wicket loss at the hands of New Zealand with another heavy defeat.
It had appeared as though Pakistan would be in for more of a challenge as they struggled with the bat early on.
Mohammad Hafeez was superbly caught by a diving Seren Waters at short midwicket off Elijah Otieno and Thomas Odoyo had Ahmed Shehzad taken at mid-off via a leading edge.
However, Kenya were unable to maintain the pressure as the innings progressed and Pakistan gradually moved into a position of dominance.
Kamran moved past 50 with the minimum of fuss, but was then stumped, for 55, as he charged recklessly down the wicket to slow left-armer Shem Ngoche.
The unflappable Younus was also denied a big score as he was trapped lbw by Steve Tikolo immediately after bringing up his half-century, with a review failing to save the batsman.
Misbah and Umar took the attack to Kenya in impressive fashion thereafter, although both men benefited from slices of fortune early in their innings.
Misbah was dropped by Maurice Ouma on six and the wicketkeeper also missed a routine stumping chance when Umar had made 24.
The errors were to prove costly as Pakistan’s fifth-wicket pair put on 118 in 13.1 overs, with Umar, in particular, displaying plenty of aggression.
Misbah eventually holed out to long-on in the 47th over and Umar followed in similar fashion to become the first of two wickets in two balls for Odoyo, who finished with 3-41.
However, Odoyo’s hat-trick ball rather summed up Kenya’s wayward display in the field as he speared another delivery down the leg side for five wides.
Just as they had with the ball, Kenya got off to an encouraging start with the bat, with Waters and Ouma sharing 37 for the first wicket.
However, things soon went awry after Waters was run out at the non-strikers end by Umar’s direct hit and it was not long before Pakistan were in complete control.
Ouma departed for 16 as he edged a loose cut to Kamran off Gul, while Steve Tikolo, the cornerstone of Kenya’s batting line-up for so long, ran past a straight ball from Afridi to be bowled for 13.
Afridi trapped Tanmay Mishra and Kamande lbw either side of Rakep Patel’s departure, to the off-spin of Hafeez, for a six-ball duck.
Odoyo was also pinned in front by Pakistan’s skipper and, although Obuya provided some cheer for Kenya’s supporters with three sixes, he eventually holed out to Shehzad at wide long-on to give Afridi his fifth wicket.
Nehemiah Odhiambo was then run out before Gul wrapped up proceedings by removing Ngoche’s off stump as the batsman offered no shot.
Kamande admitted Kenya “are not performing well in all the areas”, adding: “I didn't bowl well and let down the other three bowlers."