Kenya Vs New Zealand
Starting time: 9:30 am IST
At first glance, it may look like the result of this match is a forgone conclusion. Even history points that way. In their only encounter against each other, New Zealand pulverised Kenya by 148 runs. In that match, Ross Taylor made 85 to propel his side to 331 before the Kiwis bowled out the opponents for 183 with James Franklin and Daniel Vettori taking 2 wickets each.
But that game occurred way back in March 2007: as coincidence would have it, the fixture was part of the last World Cup. One could hazard a guess that since then Kenya has grown in stature. And if Ireland, which is on par with Kenya, could give the Kiwis a run for their money in their warm-up game, then Kenya just might also bring this contest down to the wire.
The eastern Africans however, lost both its warm matches - the first against the West Indies by 61 runs and the second versus the Netherlands. In both encounters, the Kenyans were in a strong position, only to squander it away. It had the Windies on the back foot at 64/4 while fielding first and then defending 263 against the Dutch, had them in the ridiculous situation of 130/7.
It goes without saying that their front-line fast bowlers, especially Thomas Odoyo, are doing a competent job. Even their opener Seren Waters has notched up scores of 43 and 125 in the warm-ups while other batsman David Ubuya and Rakep Patel had highs of 68 and 64, respectively. So, there's a lot of promise where individual players are concerned. It's just the manner in which the rest of the team pulls together that leaves something to be desired.
New Zealand, rather surprisingly is not doing particularly well as a team either. After its close encounter with Ireland where it won by a mere 32 runs, it went down badly to India, by 117. The Kiwis best batsman in the warm-ups was Jesse Ryder, but with an average of 40, there isn't much to write home about. Considering they have had trouble playing spin, especially against India, they will have to watch out for the off-spin of Kenya veteran Steve Tikolo.
In the final analysis, Brendon McCullum, Ryder, James Franklin and captain Daniel Vettori will be the key men for New Zealand while the Kiwis in turn will have to watch out for Kenya's Odoyo, Waters, Tikolo and Patel. Given the talent involved, this could be a far closer contest than one would imagine.
Kenya Vs New Zealand