Southampton: India have defeated Kenya by 98 runs in the first pool C match of the ICC Champion's Trophy. The win would go a long way in boosting India's confidence ahead of their key encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston on Sep 19, which could very well decide the group topper. Put to bat first, India scored 290 runs in the allotted 50 overs, losing four wickets. Skipper Sourav Ganguly (90) and VVS Laxman (79) put up a top notch show followed by Mohammad Kaif (49) and Rahul Dravid (30) to put up the competitive total. Ganguly has been awarded the Man of the Match. The Kenyan batting order however collapsed in the face of the Indian attack and by the 32nd over, the Africans had lost six wickets. Maurice Ouma (49) tried to put up a fight but was taken by Agarkar in the 45th over. Finally, the Africans were restricted to 192 for 7 at the end of the 50 overs. The Kenyans struggled from the very beginning, with Kennedy Otieno to get out first, run out by Mohammad Kaif for a duck. Then Tikolo fell to Pathan, snared leg before. Pathan struck again and Hitesh Modi lobbed the ball high up and was caught by Ganguly. Harbhajan Singh then struck and Ravindu Shah who had tried to salvage the innings, fell, caught by Kartik. Bhajji struck a second time and Ragheb Aga fell, caught by Ganguly. Soon after Bhajji picked up his third wicket of the day and Thomas Odoyo (15) was caught by Ganguly. Swashbuckling innings Earlier, India scored 290 at the end of 50 overs with the loss of 4 wickets. Skipper Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman put up a good show against the African minnows, but both of them failed to reach a century. Ganguly was sent back for 90 while Laxman (79) was stumped by Otieno as he stepped out of the crease to hit a Tikolo delivery. Mohammad Kaif and Rahul Dravid then put up a 77-run unbeaten partnership to propel India to 290. Dravid scored 30 off 16 deliveries while Kaif scored 49 from 29 deliveries. Earlier in the day, the Kenyans had won the toss elected to field on a damp pitch with perfect conditions for swing bowling. Early breakthrough The African minnows bagged a breakthrough in the ninth over itself as Virender Sehwag's poor slump continued. He failed to capitalize on his return to opening slot. The Najafgarh champ was bowled out playing a rash shot off Thomas Odoyo for 13. Skipper Sourav Ganguly (90), then took charge of the Indian innings, hitting eight boundaries in his 124-ball knock, but was bowled by Martin Suji. Yuvraj Singh (9), the new man at the crease, failed to click and was sent back to the pavilion, caught behind the wickets off a Thomas Odoyo delivery. Pace attack India are playing a three prong pace attack with Irfan Pathan Ajit Agarkar, Ashish Nehra being included in the playing eleven. Harbhajan Singh is the lone spinner, while Dinesh Karthik will don the wicket keeper's gloves. India, Kenya and Pakistan make up pool C of the tournament. India, coming from a 2-1 Natwest Series loss to England, are looking to get off on a wining note today. Teams India: Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Dinesh Kaarthick, Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar, Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan. Kenya: Steve Tikolo, Kennedy Otieno, Ravindu Shah, Hitesh Mondi, Brijal Patel, Thomas Odoyo, Ragheb Aga, Tony Suji, Martin Suji, Peter Ongondo and Maurice Ouma. Umpires: Daryl Harper, Ruddy Koertzen.
Topics : Cricket