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Kenya play Hong Kong in key 2015 ICC World Cup build-up match

CRICKET By By OSCAR PILIPILI | January 10th 2014

By OSCAR PILIPILI

KENYA: National cricket team coach Steve Tikolo has great chance to gauge his players’ preparedness when Kenya take on Hong Hong in a build-up match at St Christ’s College in Christchurch, New Zealand, today.

The match that is a build-up to the 2015 ICC World Cup Qualifiers is scheduled to bat off 12.30pm East African Time (EAT).

This is one of the two build-up matches that Kenya will play before starting its pursuit of one of the two World Cup tickets available at the Qualifiers.

Kenya also meet Nepal at St Andrews College Ground in Christchurch in yet another build-up match tomorrow starting at 12.30pm EAT.

The matches are likely to give Tikolo’s boys a feel of what to expect in the Qualifiers since both teams are also in the race to the World Cup.

Nepal and Hong Kong are in Pool “A” while Kenya is in Pool “B” of the Qualifiers.

Tikolo said the friendly matches will help Kenya acclimatise to the extreme weather conditions in New Zealand.

“Playing these two teams is important because if we meet in Super Six Stage, we will have known their approach of the game,” he further explained.

The first round of the tournament is featuring 10 Associate nations that are divided into two pools of five teams each. The top three teams in each pool advance to the Super Six Stage that would be played on round robin format.

The two finalists in Super Six advance to the World Cup to be played in New Zealand and Australia next year.

Kenya play in Group “B” alongside Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Uganda and the Netherlands.

Kenya is ranked second in the group stage that is topped by the Netherlands. Namibia is third followed by Papua New Guinea and Uganda.

Group “A” consists of United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong and Nepal.

The East Africans who are seeking their fifth participation in the World Cup play Papua New Guinea in their first fixture of the Qualifiers at New Plymouth on Monday.

Kenya will then take on Namibia at Mt Maunguni on January 17 before facing neighbours Uganda two days later at Mt Maunguni.

Kenya’s final round one fixture will be against the Netherlands at Bert Sutcliffe Oval on January 23.

Kenya lost first opportunity to qualify for the World Cup when the team underperformed in the Intercontinental Cup tournament.

Intercontinental Cup tournament was the first qualification round for Associate members of the ICC.

Tikolo has taken over the team when Kenyan cricket is in the woods.

The team failed to qualify for Twenty20 World following dismal performance it recorded during qualification round in Dubai last October.

National cricket team achieved nothing for the season 2013 and qualifying for World Cup would save the face of Kenyan cricket.                                 —[email protected]

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