Ireland prevail in low-scoring thriller
Ireland consolidated their position at the top of the Intercontinental Cup table with a dramatic 10-run victory over Kenya, completed inside two days at Mombasa Sports Club Ground.
In an astonishing match that saw 36 of 40 wickets fall to spin, including all 20 across Kenya’s two innings, the hosts were unable to chase down a target of 119.
In truth, they did well to get close, having been reduced to 36 for eight before Nelson Odhiambo, Hiren Varaiya and Shem Ngoche threatened to pull off a spectacular comeback.
Ireland made an abysmal start to the match, collapsing to 75 all out in 33.5 overs after skipper Will Porterfield had chosen to bat first.
Left-arm spinner Varaiya claimed 6-22 and received good support from fellow slow bowler Ngoche, who returned 3-11, as only three batsmen reached double figures.
Kenya fared little better in reply and could only muster 109, thanks principally to Ragheb Aga’s 46. George Dockrell and Albert van der Merwe did the damage for Ireland with respective figures of 5-37 and 5-41.
When Ireland batted for a second time, it appeared as though a sizeable total was finally on the cards as Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce shared 63 for the first wicket.
However, batsmen then departed at regular intervals once again and Porterfield’s men were grateful for 54 from Joyce, who had to retire ill midway through the innings before returning upon the fall of the eighth wicket, as they scrambled to 152. Varaiya again claimed six wickets.
Van der Merwe and Dockrell then wreaked havoc for a second time to leave Kenya in disarray. Odhiambo, who top-scored with 32, and Varaiya shared 58 to raise hopes of an unlikely home win, but both then fell to van der Merwe, who finished with 6-27 for match figures of 11-68.
Dockrell ended the game with 9-87, while Varaiya’s 12-73 amazingly proved in vain.