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Last Updated:  Saturday, 1 March, 2003, 18:28 GMT
Kenya's day to remember
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

In years to come, Kenyan supporters who were at the Wanderers on 1 March 2003 will have quite a story to tell their grandchildren.

Ravindu Shah (with stump) and Hitesh Modi (with flag) lead the lap of honour celebrations after Kenyas victory over Bangladesh
Kenya enter the party spirit after qualifying for the Super Sixes
They were vociferous throughout the day, even when their batting failed to spark and when Bangladesh threatened on a couple of occasions to overhaul their under-par score of 217.

Banging empty plastic bottles against adjacent seats or acclaiming phantom wickets every time a Bangladeshi batsman played and missed, they could have given India's equally jubilant fans up the road at Centurion Park a real run for their money.

Among those able to say "I was there when Kenya reached the Super Sixes" was George Matthews-Ochieng'.

The 29-year-old PhD student, Kenyan-born but based in Johannesburg, leapt out of his seat when Kennedy Otieno stumped Manjural Islam off the bowling of Steve Tikolo for the final wicket.

This World Cup was never about winning, it's to be recognized as a nation that requires Test status
Kenya fan Ngunjiri Nderitu
"Kenya today were under pressure," said Matthews-Ochieng' once he had had time to reflect on the epic result.

"To me it was not a shock when we beat Sri Lanka because I don't believe we are one of the minnows any more.

"But today it was different. Bangladesh had nothing to lose but for us we had a chance to go to the Super Sixes.

"To be honest the batting was a bit disappointing but they were nervous out there and in the end it was all about determination and team spirit."

High in the top corner of the Unity Stand, Ngunjiri Nderitu was still slowly waving his giant Kenyan flag in the sunset as Maurice Odumbe stepped up to accept his Man-of-the-Match award.

"For us, this World Cup was never about winning," he reflected. "It's to be recognized as a nation that requires Test status.

"It's been a long road but I think we are there now and for me, being here and watching Kenya win today and make a statement is a very special feeling."

Test status beckons

Nderitu admitted that he had had to endure some tense moments on the day.

"At times it was a bit scary but at the end of the day we had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a special day for Kenyan cricket," said the 24-year-old technical engineer.

Nairobi-born but now living in Johannesburg, he admitted that playing Australia and India in the Super Sixes would be a tough ask.

But he added: "Whether we win or lose, we need the exposure. We need the courage so that in years to come we can beat the best teams in the world.

"Unlike rugby, cricket is a very open game and that's why we always get shocks in the World Cup. And that's why Kenya should play Test cricket too."

A more level-headed view came from Chris Tsuma, reporting for Nation Newspapers.

"There's a lot that needs to be done before we play Tests. We have to become full members of the ICC because at the moment we are only receiving the same as countries like Holland.

"But after that, who knows?"





Links to more Kenya stories


 

SEE ALSO
Kenya book Super Six place
01 Mar 03 |  World Cup
Kenya storm into Super Sixes
01 Mar 03 |  Photo Galleries
Full scorecard
18 Mar 03 |  World Cup
Have Your Say on Kenya
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Have Your Say on Bangladesh
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Live: Pakistan v India
28 Feb 03 |  Team Pages


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