Rakep Patel smashed a 44-ball 74 to set up a six-wicket win for Kenya against Free State at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Friday.
Patel’s blistering half-century paved the way for Kenya to make a winning start to their Group C match in the Africa T20 Cup.
The captain hit three sixes and 10 fours for his 74 to help his side cruise to their 148-run victory target with 10 balls to spare.
Seamer Nehemiah Odhiambo also played a key role for the Kenyans after his four for 23 had initially ensured the Free Staters were restricted to 147-7 in their 20 overs.
The Africans won the toss at the start and chose to bowl first, with only Diego Rosier (44) and Leus du Plooy (37) making substantial contributions.
Corne Dry struck a quick-fire 19 from nine balls late on to give the home side a fighting chance.
And their prospects were bolstered further after Andrew Rasemene (1-20), Shadley van Schalkwyk (1-23) and Dry (1-15) reduced Kenya to 33-3 inside six overs.
But skipper Patel and veteran Collins Obuya combined for a 93-run fourth-wicket stand to put their side in a powerful position.
Obuya eventually ended unbeaten on 43 off 29 to guide his side over the line for a vital win.
Elsewhere, Northern Cape beat KwaZulu-Natal by six wickets, thanks to an unbeaten 44-ball 48 from Keegan Peterson, to chase down a 129-run target set by KZN after Khalipha Cele’s 50-ball 60.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images