Kenyans eye victory in Namibia

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Thursday, February 8th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Cricket
Batsman Cricket Kenya team Irfan Karim clear ball during the 4th Round of International Cricket Council World Cricket League Championship match against Hong Kong at Nairobi Gymkana on Sunday, Nov 20, 2016. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Kenya face United Arab Emirates in the opening match today as they chase a slot in next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

The World Cricket League Division Two match will be played in Namibia.

Kenya failed to qualify through the World Cricket League Championships (WCLC) last December and this will be the last chance they have to make it to the final round of qualification.

Kenya faltered in the last round of the matches, losing twice to Scotland by eight wickets and 161 runs.

The losses condemned Kenya to fifth place, hence making them miss a ticket to Zimbabwe.

They will contest for the remaining two slots in Division Two against UAE, Nepal, and Namibia, who finished sixth, seventh, and eighth respectively.

Get the latest sports news updates. Subscribe to our SMS sports service by texting 'SPORTS' to 22840.

They will also be up against Oman and Canada, who were promoted to Division Two after finishing first and second in the Division Three competition last year. The top two teams in Namibia will earn a ticket to Zimbabwe.

Kenya coach Thomas Odoyo said they would have to battle hard in Namibia.

“This is the only chance we have and we must be focused. We have our eyes on the ultimate prize and can’t let this opportunity go,” Odoyo said.

He said the players were determined to start on a high note and maintain the momentum throughout the competition.

“We must start well and gain points in our opening match because a victory will boost our confidence.

“Our aim is to make the cut and compete in Zimbabwe at the World Cup Qualifiers in March.”

Kenya and UAE played to a 1-1 draw in the WCLC matches.

UAE beat Kenya by five wickets in the first round then Kenya bounced back to win the second match by 65 runs.

Nehemiah Odhiambo and Irfan Karim excelled for Kenya against UAE and are expected to stage a repeat performance today. Despite losing in the first leg Odhiambo put up an all-round performance scoring 62 runs off 71 balls and taking two wickets for 28. Karim was Kenya’s top scorer in the second match with 67(107).

Odoyo will also rely on Hiren Varaiya, who returned to the team to strengthen the bowling department.

Varaiya left a mark when he led Kenya to double victory in Namibia in October 2015.