Cape town: Kenya would be out to prove its comprehensive 70-run victory over India was no flash in the pan when it takes on South Africa in the penultimate league match of the triangular One-day series on Monday.
Kenya has been improving with every match after the 10-wicket thrashing it received from India earlier in the tournament and South Africa is in for a tough competition on Monday. The hosts have already confirmed their place in the final and Monday's game is inconsequential for them, but it is a great opportunity for the Kenyans who will be tied on points with India if they manage another upset victory. India and Kenya would then have to battle it out in the last game at Paarl on Wednesday. However, despite the marked upswing in Kenya's fortunes, South Africa stands firm favourite in the match. Fresh from a fine 46-run win against India in East London on Friday, the hosts will be using the opportunity as a good practice game ahead of the final in Kingsmead, Durban, on October 26. South Africa has been the most consistent performer in this tournament and has played as a well-knit unit with every player contributing to the team. The strength of the South African side is exemplified in Boeta Dippenaar, a reserve who played the last two matches because of injury to regular opener Gary Kirsten. Making maximum use of the opportunity that came his way, Dippenaar slammed 70-plus knocks in both the matches. The other batsmen, especially Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis, are also in cracking form and South Africa should not have much problems in reaching a good total. Its bowlers are certain to give headaches to Kenya with Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Lance Klusener, Andre Nel and Kallis making a formidable attack. There had been a marked decline in the South African fielding standards in the earlier part of the tournament, but the hosts seemed to have got over that problem in their match against India at East London. Kenya would once again be going into the match without its captain Maurice Odumbe who has been handed a two-game suspension. But with confidence oozing from its victory over India, the rest of the team looks quite well equipped to give the South Africans a run for their money. Ravindu Shah and Thomas Odoyo have scored successive half-centuries in the last two matches while the opening blues also seem to have taken care of with the coming good of Kennedy Obuya in the match against India. Kenya's batsmen have been able to score 229 and 246 in the last two games and they would be hoping for a similar performance on Monday. Joseph Angara was a revelation in the last game and has suddenly become the frontline bowler for the Kenyans though Odoyo and Martin Suji too would have to chip in with special performances with the ball. The bowlers gave a very good example of wicket-to-wicket bowling, without trying to attempt anything outlandish, and there is no reason why they can't do to the South Africans what they did to India a few days back.