Captain Patel ready to bowl out Sierra Leone

Vishil Patel during the Continent Cup T20 Africa Men's tournament at Nairobi Gymkana Club. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya will take on Sierra Leone at the Dar Gymkhana in the ongoing ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa qualifier in Tanzania today.

Kenya’s captain Vishil Patel says they are well prepared and confident enough to tackle the West Africans who also have an eye on the sole ticket to the World Cup slated for Sri Lanka next year.

“We hope to beat Sierra Leone and get the momentum going against the Namibia who we are facing on Wednesday,” Patel told Standard Sports.

“I feel our team is well prepared for the tournament under the highly experienced head coach Josephat Irungu and his assistant Peter Ongondo. 

“Both have shared their knowledge and experience so that we can give our best on the pitch.”

“I see Kenya as a very strong side that will cause major upsets in this tournament. We are hopeful to grab that lone world cup ticket on offer,” said Patel.

Kenya’s opening match against hosts Tanzania at the University of Dar-es Salaam on Sunday was abandoned due to heavy rains that pounded the Tanzanian capital.

This means both sides shared the spoils of a point apiece as there are no reserve days in the championship. 

In Darsh Panchani, Kenya has a man with a double century at the U-19 level – 210 off 132 balls including 11 boundaries and 12 meaty sixes against Malawi during a Division II Africa Qualifier match played on September 30 in Abuja, Nigeria last year. 

That knock alone took Kenya to the semifinals with an enviable NRR after they triumphed by 286 runs after setting 346 for eight in just 45 overs. Then their slow bowlers; Vishil Patel, Aaranv Patel, Raj Manji turned on the style all the way to an 11-run victory against Nigeria, somehow defending just 90 runs. 

“We are looking forward to a very competitive tournament. The team is excited for the opportunity. We have brought the same squad that helped Kenya qualify from the Division II Africa qualifier. The boys don’t need extra-motivation as they already know what is at stake,” said captain Patel.

“Watch out for all of us,” warned Sierra Leone’s maverick captain John Bangura. “We want to take home some positive memories from Dar es Salaam. “

“There is no memory bigger than qualifying for the World Cup. It will mean more than just a dream come true. It will be a life changing moment. But as you know, a dream is just a dream, unless you work for it to become a reality,” added the man who also keeps wickets.

The tournament winner will join regional qualifiers from Asia (Nepal), East Asia Pacific (New Zealand), Europe and Americas. 

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