WC 2003 - African brothers to battle for survival in Super Six
Published: Thursday, February 27, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Bloemfontein: Kenya captain Steve Tikolo insisted that history would count for nothing when his side took on Zimbabwe in its Super Six match at Goodyear Park on Wednesday.Victory against its fellow Africans would take unfancied Kenya into the semi-finals of the World Cup. But it has not beaten Zimbabwe in any of the country's 14 previous One-day encounters, its opponents winning 12 with two no-results."We've never beaten Zimbabwe but this is a different tournament," Tikolo told reporters on Tuesday. "And we'd never beaten Sri Lanka either," chipped in Kenya coach Sandeep Patil referring to his team's most impressive victory of the World Cup so far.Tikolo added that the performance of the non-Test nation had been enthusiastically received back home. "We got a call from the Minister of Sport telling us that the President conveyed his best wishes and that everyone was right behind us."Long regarded as Kenya's best batsman, Tikolo said there was no magic formula to beating Zimbabwe. "The key is to play well in all three departments. We've been doing that so far, apart from our batting on a few occasions."And the Kenya skipper said that, with Zimbabwe leg spinner Brian Murphy out of the tournament due to injury, they would be targeting their opponents attack."They've had a few injuries so they might be a bit weak there." Patil, a member of India's 1983 World Cup winning side, said that whatever happened his players deserved praise for just getting to this stage."We are not here by default. We've played some good cricket. The boys have been tremendous. The expectation before the tournament was like shooting for the moon. I give total credit to all the players." And Patil insisted he had no interest in India's progress in the Super Six. "I am a professional. I am only concentrating on the Kenya team." Meanwhile Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak indicated that former skipper Alistair Campbell, only called up to the squad after batsman Mark Vermeulen sustained a skull fracture batting in the nets on Friday, would play."It's good to have someone with his experience, an opener for an opener. He's got hundreds up front for us before and there's a pretty good chance he will be pitching up," Streak said.But the pace bowler ruled out all-rounder Guy Whittall's chances. "Guy won't be ready, he's got a hamstring strain," explained Streak, who added that star batsman Andy Flower, who had a niggling strain, would be fit.Streak insisted his team would not be taking Kenya lightly. "We'll approach Kenya in the same way we approached Australia. "But we'll try to dominate in our own way, play good cricket and win."Both press conferences were well-attended which has not always been the case in the past for two of world cricket's lesser nations. "It's great to see so many reporters here for Kenya. When we arrived in Sri Lanka for the Champions Trophy there was no one," Patil said. "I was asking (questions to) Steve and Steve was asking me."