A Chepauk wicket that played up and down was the only point of concern as New Zealand bundled out Kenya for 69 and won their first match in the World Cup by 10 wickets, racing to the target in eight overs flat in Chennai on Sunday.
Kenya, who have been speaking out against the International Cricket Council's decision to reduce the number of teams at the next World Cup to 10 from the current 14, sadly only justified the governing body's move to cut down on such meaningless encounters.New Zealand medium-pacers, led by World Cup debutant Hamish Bennett, who came in for the injured Kyle Mills, reaped the rewards of bowling full and straight to Kenyan batsmen intent on playing across the line. Kenya capitulated to the fifth lowest World Cup total ever.
It was the third most comprehensive victory in World Cup history, in terms of the total number of deliveries to spare, and New Zealand's best at the tournament.
"It was obviously the performance we were looking for after losing the toss. We would have wanted to bat first as well but the wicket was a bit tricky, a bit up and down," New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said after the match was over in under 32 overs.
Twenty-four hours earlier, Vettori had said, "I think it will be a good batting wicket," mindful that India had amassed 360 for five against them in a warm-up match played on the same strip. However, a few deliveries from Bennett hit the batsmen well below the knee roll, while Jacob Oram got a few to bounce disconcertingly.
India will play here on March 20, against the West Indies. That is a long way away and it is not yet known which wicket will be used for that match. However, it remains a concern after one of the adjacent tracks was also criticised as "dead" and "under-prepared" by SA captain Graeme Smith.