Nairobi: Thanks to New Zealand's refusal to play in Nairobi, Kenya has already clinched the first win of the World Cup tournament - but it could turn out to be one of its few highlights. In 10 matches played in its two previous World Cups, Kenya has managed just one win, a stunning triumph over the West Indies in Pune in 1996. But last time out in England in 1999, it lost all five encounters and confidence this time round has not been inspired by the decision to retain some of the old faces that have featured in the last two tournaments.
Skipper Steve Tikolo and fellow veteran Maurice Odumbe are still playing but the lack of depth in the nation's cricket was highlighted by the recall of former captain Asif Karim and Alpesh Vadher who have both been brought out of retirement. Odumbe took 3 for 15 when the Kenyans beat the West Indies by 73 runs in 1996 in a tournament in which Tikolo also played but recent signs are not good. At the end of last year, Kenya lost 2-0 to Zimbabwe with the final match of the series seeing the Kenyans collapsing to 133 all out off just 28.5 overs - Tikolo hit 34 and Odumbe, 48, while the other nine batsmen managed just 37 runs between them. Tikolo, with 1,448 career runs, remains confident. "We have a good chance to reach the second round. We'll be better placed against Sri Lanka since we know our wicket very well. We also expect the crowd to be on our side," said Tikolo looking ahead to the game Kenya hosts at the Nairobi Gymkhana ground.
The Kiwis have decided to forfeit their match because of fears over security in Kenya, which have overshadowed the team's preparations. He said his team was plotting how to eliminate Canada and Bangladesh from a group, which also includes South Africa and the West Indies, to bolster its chances of making it to the Super Sixes.