Kenya's renewed hope: The men bounced back to beat Netherlands by two wickets

U19 CRICKET Team Kenya celebrate during the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier match against Ghana at Nairobi Gymkana Grounds on Saturday, July 01, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD

Kenya earned two crucial points that moved them to fourth place in the WCLC standings.

Kenya revived their hopes of gaining a direct ticket to the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2019 World Cup global qualifiers set for 2018 at a yet to be announced venue.

The Kenyan men bounced back from a six wickets loss to Netherlands in their first of the two World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) matches on Friday to beat them by two wickets in a nail biting clash staged at Buffalo Park Grounds in East London, South Africa. 

With the victory, Kenya earned two crucial points that moved them to fourth place in the WCLC standings. The top four teams will gain direct tickets to the last round of qualifiers where they will battle for a ticket to England and Wales for the World cricket extravaganza.

Being within the required threshold, national team coach Thomas Odoyo said the win had renewed their hopes and given them something to fight for. "We have reason to work even harder as we prepare for the final round of the WCLC matches. We were targeting a whitewash unfortunately we drew 1-1 but the two points put us in a good position boosting our campaign and gave us something to fight for," Odoyo said.  

He added that great character display by the team against Netherlands is a positive they will build on. "We were not stable at the beginning of their innings allowing them to score 120 for 0 in 20 overs, but excellent bowling from Shem Ngoche and brilliant catches by Peter Koech brought us back into the game and we managed to restrict them to 224 for nine at the end of their innings which is a remarkable effort."

Going forward, he said the team still has a lot to work on for better performance. "We need to work on our composure especially when batting because we panic and it leads us to making unnecessary errors that prove costly. We have have close to two months before our last matches and we intend to intensify our train and hopefully play some friendly matches," Odoyo said.

Veteran Collins Obuya once again excelled with bat and ball scoring 56 runs off 80 balls while he had earlier on taken two wickets for 25. Youngster Dhiren Gondaria led the chase smashing a half ton in his 61-ball 63 to spur Kenya to victory. Nelson Odhiambo (25) and kipper Rakep Patel (17) also put a good fight for Kenya with the ball, taking one and two wickets respectively.

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