The Star (Nairobi)

13 March 2013

Kenya Hopeful

KENYANS are determined to prevent a Canadian resurgence as they seek their first series win in the ongoing ICC World Cricket League Championships.

Kenya will start as firm favourites as the second and last one-dayers takes place today at the Global Cricket Academy. Kenya beat Canada by 6 wickets in the first match at the same venue on Monday to take a 1-0 lead.

Kenya have not won a series since the event started in July 2011 and have struggled to make an impact after senior players led by Steve Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo hanged up their gloves. Kenya had played eight matches before their Monday match and out of those, they have only won three. Their matches against UAE, Ireland and Namibia ended in 1-1 draw while they lost 2-0 to Netherlands.

In the UAE, Ireland and Namibia matches, Kenya have always allowed their opponents to bounce back after winning the opening encounter.

Paceman Elijah Otieno, who steered Kenya to victory on Monday with 4 for 33 is positive about the team's chances today. "We have to be positive. We have one match to go and we need to put the Monday win and other matches behind and keep improving. We need to be a lot more consistent with bowling, batting and fielding," he said.

"A lot of hard work is required going into today's match. We need to handle the conditions very well and try to get on top of the opposition and keep the pressure."

Kenya are likely to play an unchanged side unless the coach opts to replace spinner James Ngoche who failed to get a wicket with Duncan Allan in a bid to spice up the batting. Allan, a top order batsman, is also capable of playing as a stoke bowler.

It's hoped that Irfan Karim who top-scored with a half century and Alex Obanda whose inning was cut short by Canadians at an early stage will be in the best possible form to give Kenya a good start.

Captain Collins Obuya, Maurice Ouma, Tanmay Mishra and Rakep Patel will then take up the middle order and see the seam through the inning in their quest for the rare series win.

Elijah, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Rageb Aga and Hiren Varaiya will then be tasked with making life difficult for the Canadian batting which is capable of recovering from the first loss.

Canada are however, hopeful that the calming influence of Ruvindu Gunasekera and Raza-ur-Reham who made half centuries, will make the difference.

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