Hosts Kenya play Hong Kong in the second and last game of the ICC World Cricket League Championship at Nairobi Gymkhana on Sunday starting at 10am.
In the opening game played on Friday, Kenya beat Hong Kong by three wickets through the Duckworth-Lewis method to earn two points.
Kenya did well with the bat and ball and displayed remarkable improvement in fielding. The win was a morale-booster for Kenya who had lost 2-0 to Papua New Guinea in the championship in May.
Kenya, coached by Thomas Odoyo, head into thr match as favourites to win. Opening batsman Irfan Karim will lead batting attack alongside Alex Obanda. Dhiren Gondaria, Rakep Patel, Nelson Odhiambo, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Collins Obuya, Rushab Patel and Narendra Patel.
ENJOYING GOOD FORM
Obanda, who opens batting for Kenya with Karim, is enjoying good form and could be a loose cannon to the opponent as he scores his runs very fast.
Rakep has also proven to be a formidable left spin bowler. He destroyed Hong Kong’s batting order on Friday when he took five wickets for 16 runs conceded in six overs.
Elijah Otieno was dropped from the side facing Hong Kong, and Odoyo has not found a permanent replacement. His bowling partner Nehemiah can open bowling with either Nelson, Lucas Oluoch or Eugene Ochieng.
Other bowlers in the side include Obuya, shem Ngoche, Rakep, Narendra and Dhiren. Kenya’s squad is full of all-rounders.
Elijah is currently going through a bad patch. Obanda was dropped from the Papu Guinea Squad for same reason and he has bounced back with a bang.
Asked if there will be any changes in today’s team, Odoyo said: “My decision whether to bring in any new player or not shall be determined by condition of the wicket.”
International Cricket Council is using the championship as a pre-qualification tournament for the 2019 World Cup set for England. Eight teams – Kenya, Hong Kong, Nepal, Scotland, Netherlands, Namibia, Nepal and UAE – are taking part in the championship, played on a league basis.
The top four teams at the end of the season on December 30 next year will join the last four sides from the ODI Championship that brings together 12 teams (10 Test-playing teams plus Ireland and Afghanistan).
Two teams from Division Two of the ICC World Cricket League will also join the fray.
The 10 teams will assemble in Bangladesh in 2018 for a championship from where the two finalists will book places in the London event. ICC has not preserved places for associate and affiliate teams in the next edition of the World Cup.
Previously, non-Test playing sides used to fight it out for four slots reserved for them in the World Cup. This is the path Kenya used to feature in five successive editions of the World Cup since making their Word Cup debut in India in 1996.