Kenya aims for a top four finish in qualifier

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Oct 05, 2017
  • Rakep Patel, the Kenya captain is aware of the formidable opposition but remains optimistic and looks for increased intensity. (SNA. File Photo)

Kenya captain Rakep Patel is confident there is still a lot to play for when they face the Netherlands in  two ICC World Cricket League Championship matches beginning on Friday at Buffalo Park, East London South Africa.

Speaking to SNA from the team's hotel, the skipper said: "This is a crucial match for us. We are striving for a top four finish to qualify directly for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier."

He is aware of the formidable opposition but remains optimistic. "We have performed consistently throughout the competition, with two rounds of matches left for us we must increase the performance level. The Netherlands will be tough competition, they have only lost one match and we must be at our very best to get the all-important winning points.

His opposite number Peter Borren is not taking what appears to be a formality match against Kenya lightly.  

“These are a huge couple of games for us as we look to consolidate first place in the World Cricket League Championship and we don’t want to take chances at all with Kenya,” Borren said in an interview with icc-cricket.com.

Netherlands currently top the Championship with 16 points and a victory in both games against fifth-placed Kenya (10 points) would guarantee their passage to the World Cup Qualifier.

The chasing pack of Papua New Guinea and Scotland could complicate the qualification in the event a slip at the top. Scotland (13 points) travels to PNG (14) for two ODIs.

Nullify Kenyan danger

Borren observed: “Kenya are a dangerous team as we experienced to our detriment at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2015. They have a number of players who can take the game away from you quickly, we will have to plan well and execute effectively to nullify that danger.”

He added: "There are no guarantees in this sport. As we've seen, a lot of teams have surprised the opposition and we're certainly not taking anything for granted."

The all-rounder who has in many occasions been the thorn in Kenyan flesh cautioned: "Going into a big game like this, we're going to treat it as how we have been treating the other matches. Our mind-set does not differ."

Kenya have suffered their fair share of heartache against Netherlands but Borren feels those days are gone. "It's definitely a different Kenyan outfit from what we played the last time we met. In the past they might have given way under pressure."

Despite having almost one foot into the next round of the campaign, Netherlands are not taking chances and have employed former South Africa fast bowler Allan Donald as a bowling consultant, ahead of two matches.

Donald boasts a vast international coaching credentials including stints with South Africa, England and Sri Lanka. He worked with Warwickshire and Kent in English county cricket, too, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. 

Additional reporting by icc-cricket.com