The national cricket team will Friday play their first game of ICC World Cricket League Division Three against hosts Oman at the Emarat Cricket Stadium in Muscat as from 10:30am Kenyan time.
Leading Kenya’s batting attack will be the opening pair of Irfan Karim, who is also the team’s wicketkeeper and Alex Obanda. Dhiren Gondaria is likely to bat one down followed by Rakep Patel, Shem Ngoche, Nelson Odhiambo, Narendra Patel, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Lucas Oluoch and Elijah Otieno.
On a good day, Obanda will give his team a solid batting foundation as he is a risk taker. A relaxed Patel is a dependable batsman who could get Kenya meaningful runs particularly if he shares wicket with one of his Kanbis’ team mates, Gondaria, Nelson or Narendra.
Oluoch is likely to open bowling with either Elijah Otieno or Nehemiah Odhiambo. The other bowlers in the side are Nelson, Ngoche, Narendra, Rakep and Pushpak Kerai and Sachin Bhudia.
Even though the winner of a 50 overs game will only be known when the last ball has been bowled, Kenya team has all it takes to win the opening game as it is the most experienced side, at least on paper.
Virtually all the Kenyan players in Oman were part of the squad that failed to win a single game at the ICC World Cricket League Division Two held in Namibia in February, thereby getting the team demoted to ICC World Cricket League Division Three.
When Kenya and Oman last met, the Omanis beat the local boys by two wickets through the Duckworth Lewis Method.
Kenya batted first scoring 200 all out in 49.5 overs and Oman were 148 for 8 in 41.1 overs before the match was disrupted by rainfall. Patel top scored for Kenya (59 off 72 balls with four boundaries) while Zeeshan Maqsood was Oman’s highest runs getter with a quick half century (58 off 33 balls with eight boundaries and two sixes).
Kenya must win today’s game to boost their morale and improve their chances of finishing among the top two teams in a competition involving six sides that is played in a round-robin format.
The top finishers in Oman will be promoted to the ICC World Cricket League Division Two. Uganda, Denmark, USA and Singapore are the other teams at the Oman tournament.
Kenya has a heritage of having competed in five successive ICC World Championships from 1996 to 2011.