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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 February, 2003, 16:10 GMT

Nairobi fans savour historic win
By Matt Davies
BBC World Service Sport in Nairobi

The best things come to those who wait.

Never was that saying more appropriate than for the capacity crowd at the Gymkhana Sport ground as the Kenyan crowd witnessed their team pull off a famous victory over Sri Lanka.

The Kenyan team enjoys a lap of honour
Kenya set off on a lap of honour

One banner read " Is the Kiwi a member of the chicken family?", referring to New Zealand's boycott of their match in the Kenyan capital.

Denied one of the two matches allocated to them by the World Cup organising committee, the Kenyans were determined to make the most of the chance to cheer on their team.

And there were scenes of joyous celebration after captain Steve Tikolo dismissed Dilhara Fernando to seal victory.

As far as World Cup shocks go this wasn't perhaps on a par with their win over West Indies in 1996, but was certainly more special for being on home soil.

This victory could do much for the development of the game in Kenya, especially if they now progress to the Super Sixes.

The noisiest place in Nairobi was perhaps the home of the brothers Obuya.

Kennedy opened the batting and top scored with 60 before Collins, eight years his junior, ripped though the Sri Lankan middle order to win man of the match award for his 5-24.

Our bowling was perfect, the fielding tight and the crowd pushed us all the way
Steve Tikolo

It could only have been better if middle brother David had been picked for the match.

It is not often that Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitheran captures wickets and not the headlines to go with them. His 4-28 was his best in a illustrious World Cup career.

Once Kenya began to scent victory, every Sri Lankan dismissal was greeted with a group hug and a jig of delight by the players.

It was fitting that Tikolo should take the final wicket.

He has been an ever present in the side since Kenya were granted one-day international status in 1996 and some say he is the best current batsman never to have played Test cricket.

After bowling Fernando, Tikolo grabbed a stump, lifted Collins Obuya onto his shoulders and preceded to lead his players in a joyous lap of honour.

It is now three from five for a Super Six place with Tikolo's side joining South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies for what will be a fascinating final eight games in the pool.

Kenyan supporters in Nairobi
The Kenyan fans were ecstatic

We all knew the hosts would qualify but what odds on that now being Kenya and not South Africa ?

"Thanks for coming " read another sign in the crowd.

Kenya played in Sri Lanka during the 1996 World Cup when West Indies and Australia stayed away.

Eight years on this was Sri Lanka's belated thank you.

Even in defeat credit must be given Sanath Jayasuriya and his side for trusting the safety assurances given and making this World Cup a truly African affair.

To Pune, 29 February 1996 add Nairobi, 24 February 2003 as the red letter days of Kenyan cricket.

BBC Sport's Matt Davies
"Kenya's bowling and fielding was inspired"

Kenya's Stephen Tikolo
"I think the guys did a brilliant job"

Jayasuriya fumes at 'amateurs'
24 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
Tikolo hails Obuya
24 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
Kenya v Sri Lanka: Over-by-over
24 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
Have Your Say on Sri Lanka
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Have Your Say on Kenya
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say

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