|Event:||ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015 to 2017|
DateLine: 16th November 2016
Kenya and Hong Kong figure in important mid-table engagements of the ICC World Cricket League on November 18 and 20 at the Gymkhana Club in Nairobi, with both teams aiming to bag a pair of wins and climb up the points table.
Kenya is currently in fifth place on the points table, which sees Papua New Guinea and the Netherlands occupying the top two positions with 12 points each from eight matches. Scotland is third with 11 points from as many matches while Hong Kong is fourth with nine points from six outings in a tournament that provides a pathway to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The top sides from this tournament, played on a double round-robin basis that gives 14 matches to each team, will join the bottom four sides from the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings as on 30 September 2017 for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be staged in 2018.
Kenya captain Rakep Patel reckons that the home conditions will help the team and is aiming to win both matches and overtake Hong Kong in the process.
Kenya is on six points from six matches after losing both its matches to Papua New Guinea (PNG) recently. Kenya defeated Namibia in both matches while winning one and losing one against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “The fixtures against Hong Kong are very important in regards to our position on the points table. If we win both matches, we swap places with our visitors and go to fourth position, which is our aim and that should make things a little easier going forward.
“We expect the matches to be competitive, the home ground conditions should provide us with the upper hand since we are used to them. Alex Obanda and Irfan Karim will spearhead our batting while Nehemiah Odhiambo and Nelson Odhiambo will lead our bowling attack. We know their capabilities at this level so the expectations are high,” Patel said. The 27-year-old Patel as confident that his team had the batting to beat Hong Kong, which he rated as a good side.
“Hong Kong are a good side overall. They are bowling well, take for example their recent series against PNG where they performed very well. However, I reckon if we do the basics well, we should be able to win. Batting is our strong point. If the team bats well, we can take the game away from our opponents.
Hong Kong won a home series against PNG 2-1 earlier this month with captain Babar Hayat emerging as the player of the series.
Hayat too is aiming to win both matches and shoot to the top of the table. The team beat the UAE in both matches, shared the spoils with Namibia while it won one of its matches against Scotland with the other one being washed out.
“These are really important games for us because if we win both the games we will be at the top or number two for sure. I know bowling is our strength, so if we do well in batting, we can defend any total or we can restrict them to a low score,” said 24-year-old Hayat, who had slammed a match-winning 82 not out in the decider against PNG.
Hayat conceded that Kenya had the home advantage but showed faith in his players, particularly Anshuman Rath and Nizakat Khan, who were in fine form against PNG.
“I think they are playing at home and know the conditions well. They will have the home crowd backing them and they are also one of the better associate teams, so we won't take them lightly. We have players like Anshuman and Nizakat, who have been doing well,” he said.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2016 International Cricket Council)