Ganguly guides India to victory

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The Independent Online

Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid hit half-centuries to steer India to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Kenya in the opening match of the ICC Knock-out Trophy one-day tournament yesterday.

Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid hit half-centuries to steer India to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Kenya in the opening match of the ICC Knock-out Trophy one-day tournament yesterday.

After restricting Kenya to 208 for 9 from their 50 overs, India cruised to 209 for 2 with 7.3 overs to spare. Dravid hit a near-flawless 68 not out and Ganguly made 66 before he was stumped off the bowling of the Kenya captain, Maurice Odumbe.

A small consolation for the Kenyans was that they managed to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar for a modest 25. The gifted Tendulkar had compiled centuries in each of his three previous matches against Kenya.

Odumbe and the opener Ravindu Shah both scored half- centuries as Kenya struggled to their modest total.

Shah crafted a resolute 60 off 93 balls before he edged a delivery from the pace bowler Venkatesh Prasad, giving the debutant wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya his first international catch.

Shah's dismissal brought to an end an 81-run partnership with Odumbe and proved to be a fatal blow to Kenyan hopes of a high score.

Odumbe followed 13 runs later, falling leg before to Prasad for 51. His dismissal sparked a mini-collapse asZaheer Khan, playing his first match for India, struck twicein one over to remove Mohammed Sheikh and Hitesh Modi.

The hard-hitting lower order batsman Thomas Odoyo, who scored an unbeaten 35 in 34 balls, made the Kenyans' 50-over score a little more respectable.

India now meet the world champions, Australia, who had a first-round bye, in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

The former Australian coach Geoff Marsh and former West Indian fast bowler Andy Roberts are among four candidates to succeed Kapil Dev as India's coach, it was announced yesterday. The two other candidates are John Wright, the former New Zealand opening batsmen, and Dean Jones, the former Australian middle-order batsman.

A decision will be made by the end of the month. A C Muthiah, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, will have the final word on selecting the new coach.

Kapil Dev resigned as India's coach last month in the wake of investigations into match-fixing allegations. Anshuman Gaekwad was appointed interim coach and he is taking charge of the Indian team here.

For the Kenyans, little known even in their own country, the tournament represents one of their first chances to shine on the world stage.

Many Kenyans know little about the game, viewing it as expensive, élitist and a sport for the country's south Asian community. But given the dire state of Kenyan football, those with an interest realize this is cricket's chance to make an impact.

"You find it is only played competitively in European and Asian schools but in the next few years it will pick up momentum," Odumbe said. To increase their profile, the Kenya team have released a pop-theme-song for the tournament.

"It is very important that we sell the game because it is unlikely we will have such a gathering again... This is the crunch, we have to use it to popularise the sport," Odumbe said.

Kenya famously beat the West Indies, including Lara and the fearsome pace duo of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, by 73 runs in the 1996 World Cup. Whether they can a pull off a result like that in this tournament remains to be seen.

India won toss

KENYA

ÿK O Otieno c Ganguly b Agarkar 6 R D Shah c Dahiya b Prasad 60 J K Kamande c Dravid b Kumble 18 S O Tikolo lbw b Kumble 5 *M O Odumbe lbw b Prasad 51 T M Odoyo not out 35 M Sheikh b Khan 0 H S Modi b Khan 0 A O Suji c Dahiya b Agakar 2 M A Suji c Ganguly b Khan 14 L Onyango not out 0 Extras (lb10, w4, nb3) 17 Total (for 9, 50 overs) 208

Fall: 1-16, 2-54, 3-64, 4-145, 5-158, 6-159, 7-159, 8-174, 9-206.

Bowling: Khan 10-0-48-3; Agarkar 10-1-40-2; Prasad 10-0-47-2; Kumble 10-1-22-2; Tendulkar 6-0-25-0; Singh 4-1-16-0.

INDIA

S C Ganguly st Otieno b Odumbe 66 *S R Tendulkar lbw b T Suji 25 R S Dravid not out 68 V G Kambli not out 39 Extras (b1, lb2, w7, nb1) 11 Total (for 2, 42.3 overs) 209

Fall: 47-1, 135-2.

Bowling: M Suji 10-2-30-0; Odoyo 6-1-18-0; T Suji 10-0-56-1; Onyango 4.3-0-34-0; Sheikh 4-0-27-0; Tikolo 2-0-13-0, Odumbe 4-0-18-1; Shah 2-0-10-0.

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