The West Indies were thankful to a Ramnaresh Sarwan century as they saw off Kenya by 61-runs in their pre-World Cup friendly in Colombo. Sarwan's hundred helped his side post a total of 253-8 from their 50 overs and that was always too much of an ask for an albeit determined Kenya side, who were all out for 192 with four overs left.
Kenyan seamer Thomas Odoyo claimed the wickets of openers Devon Smith and Adrian Barath to put the West Indies on the back foot inside the first 10 overs. Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul quickly followed to leave them struggling on 65-4 before Sarwan settled the innings down with a fifth-wicket partnership of 94 with Dwayne Bravo. Sarwan pushed on with an array of shots to finish on 123 from his 125 deliveries, including 11 fours and five sixes.
After a strong start by the Kenyan top-order which saw Collins Obuya hit 68 and Seren Waters hitting 43, the West Indian bowlers found their rhythm and took wickets at regular intervals. Uncapped youngster Andre Russell made a huge claim for a starting spot when the tournament starts later this month, the fast bowler taking 4-43 to put the Kenyans on the back foot. The rest of Kenya's batsmen failed to put up much resistance and were all out for 192 from 45.3 overs. The Cricket World Cup betting suggests they'll have to improve significantly if they're to make any sort of impact at this year's competition.
Despite the Kenyan's showing some determination in all aspects of the game, the real test for the West Indies will come when the tournament starts for them on February 24th and the 2011 Cricket World Cup betting reflects this. That's the day of the first group game and it will be against another African country, although a significantly stronger one in South Africa.
The West Indies will go into the match as overwhelming underdogs but there are a number of players capable of winning games on their own. If those key players can show what Sarwan showed here, then the West Indies could spring a surprise or two in this tournament. An opening game win against South Africa would really show the rest of the competition that the West Indies mean business this year on the sub-continent.