Black Caps Through To Super Eight
New Zealand eased into the Super Eight phase of the World Cup with a 148-run defeat of Kenya in Group C at Beausejour.
New Zealand eased into the Super Eight phase of the World Cup with a 148-run defeat of Kenya at Beausejour.
Knowing victory in the Group C encounter would guarantee passage with a game to spare, Stephen Fleming's side responded in clinical fashion to avert any chance of a further shock in the Caribbean.
Kenya, semi-finalists in the 2003 World Cup, began with high hopes of pressurising their higher-ranked opponents but Fleming, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris and Craig McMillan all struck half-centuries in an imposing total of 331 for seven, comfortably the highest one-day international score on this island.
In reply, the Kenyans lost four early wickets and struggled for any kind of fluency between the afternoon showers.
Only veteran Ravi Shah, of the top order, prospered as the wet outfield made hitting boundaries increasingly difficult.
Shah, dropped on 43 by Fleming at slip off left-armer James Franklin, had contributed 71 of his side's 122 for six when, immediately after hitting spinner Daniel Vettori for six, he drove a return catch.
There was still 20 overs remaining at that point but all-rounder Thomas Odoyo mixed defence with occasional aggression to strike a defiant 42 and ensure all but four deliveries were used up.
Kenya now face England in the final match of the group on Saturday with the winners joining the Black Caps in the last eight.
They made the perfect start today, after winning the toss, when Odoyo found the edge of Lou Vincent's bat for captain Steve Tikolo to hold a straightforward catch at second slip from the fourth delivery of the day.
Overnight rain once again left dampness on the square and the ball nibbled around in the early stages before the sun took its effect.
The Black Caps might have been two down inside four overs, in fact, but Taylor, on five, was put down at square-leg by Tanmay Mishra off Peter Ongondo.
Although there was no great pace in the pitch, Fleming used what there was to flip three sixes over the leg-side boundary as he upped the scoring rate.
His 50 came up off 53 deliveries when he off-drove Lameck Onyango for four.
Out of form so far in 2007, Fleming appeared set for a big score only for an horrendous misjudgment to account for his wicket.
Taylor turned the ball to short fine-leg and Fleming set off for a single which was not there, to be left well short as Collins Obuya's throw was relayed to wicketkeeper Maurice Ouma.
That brought Styris to the crease, four days after his man-of-the-match, unbeaten 87 against England on the same ground.
A lofted six off left-arm spinner Hiren Varaiya early in his innings highlighted Styris' current confidence and he was given two helping hands to a 62-ball 63 with Jimmy Kamande and Tikolo both putting down chances at midwicket, on 19 and 50 respectively.
In between those misses, Taylor tweaked a hamstring and was forced to employ Vincent as a runner after receiving treatment in the 32nd over, having contributed 72 out of 177 for two.
He did not hang around upon resumption and hoisted Tikolo's off-spin into the stands at deep midwicket before succumbing two balls later, caught and bowled, for 85.
Although the damage to Taylor is not serious, he will miss the final group contest against Canada on Thursday.
With the platform laid, New Zealand's power hitters took advantage with exactly 100 coming from the final 10 overs.
McMillan – whose 71 spanned only 48 deliveries and included five of the Kiwis' dozen sixes – Styris and Brendon McCullum skied catches as they selflessly propelled their side out of reach.
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