Kenya's U-19 team books slot in semis at World Cup Qualifiers

Hitendra Sanghani at Peponi school in preparation towards ICC U19 Africa qualifiers to be held in Nigeria. September 22, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya has technically sailed to the semi-finals of the ongoing ICC Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifier in Abuja, Nigeria after other Group A opponents, Ghana and Mozambique failed to show up for the tournament.

Kenya was set to play Ghana last Saturday, but the game was postponed by the organisers in hope that the Ghanaian contingent would arrive in time for the competition.

"The match has been cancelled due to the absence of Ghana's team," the Nigeria Cricket Federation tweeted just hours to the bat-off.

Kenya captain Vishil Patel has reiterated that they will still keep the same momentum in the semis set for Friday despite the postponement of their games which has interfered with the rhythm of the team.

"We will go all out to fight, personally I will improve on my batting," the skipper said.

"We cherish all the experience we are getting here in Abuja, we are meeting new people and interacting with some of the best players in Africa, of course not forgetting the amazing training venues where we do our practices," Patel said.

In the absence of Gahna Kenya was immediately pitted against Malawi, thrashing the Malawians by a whopping 286 runs in a match that Kenya batted first and amassed 346 runs for the loss of eight wickets in 45 overs.

Darsh Panchani of Kenya was the star of the show in the encounter, drilling 210 runs from just 132 balls. He smashed a dozen sixes and 11 boundaries, as he tore into the bowling. Kenya's second match was to be held today at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium but this again, is also in limbo, since their other Group A opponents, Mozambique, are yet to arrive in the tournament.

This means Kenya has technically sailed to the semi-finals together with Malawi as they are the only representatives of their pool at the competition.

Kenya could battle either Sierra Leone or Nigeria in the semis. The due is fighting for top spot in Group B.

World cricket governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that Ghana and Mozambique failed to make it to the tournament due logistical challenges.

"The ICC Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup Africa Division 2 Qualifier in Abuja has got underway, but not without its fair share of logistical challenges.

"As the world gets back to some sort of normalcy, certain processes are still taking longer than usual.

"The passports for Ghana's young side were delayed, thus meaning they couldn't travel to their neighbouring country. So the fixtures have been rejigged," The ICC Media Team stated in a press release.

Meanwhile, West Indies batter Shimron Hetmyer will not play at the Men's T20 World Cup after he missed a rescheduled flight to Australia before the tournament.

Hetmyer's flight was moved from Saturday to Monday for family reasons.

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