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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 14:52 GMT
Kenya on the up
By Mike Burnett

In a World Cup where the high hopes of most 'minnows' have been crushed by the Test-playing sides, Kenya have been a genuine sensation.

Kenya celebrate qualification for the second stage
Kenya are now sharing the limelight with the big boys
The Kenyans have upset the odds by joining the big boys in the Super Sixes, while more favoured sides like neighbours South Africa have fallen by the wayside.

With star performers like Maurice Odumbe, Collins Obuya, Ravindu Shah and captain Steve Tikolo, many cricket fans are beginning to wonder why Kenya are only now starting to get the recognition they deserve.


Star performers

Maurice Odumbe
Odumbe has shown some great form so far
A number of Kenyans have grabbed the spotlight since the tournament in South Africa began, including Shah, Odumbe, Obuya and Tikolo.

Shah is living up to his rising star status after hitting 60 against Sri Lanka before going one better against Canada, while Odumbe has proved impressive with both bat and ball.

He helped clinch Kenya's Super Six place with his 52 runs off 46 balls and four wickets against Bangladesh in Johannesburg.

Earlier, fellow jack-of-all-trades Collins Obuya starred in the key win over Sri Lanka with impressive figures of 5-24.

While Tikolo has been slightly disappointing with a bat, he remains inspirational as captain and has also been handy with a ball, grabbing six wickets from more than 18 overs.


Pedigree

RECENT FORM PRIOR WORLD CUP
Played 9 - W:0 L:8 NR: 1
v Pakistan & Australia (Tri):
4 defeats
v West Indies & South Africa (ICC): 2 defeats
v Zimbabwe (a): lost 2-0
They may be an unknown quantity to many, but Kenya have arguably been the best non-Test playing cricket side for a number of years.

The team, who have now competed in three World Cups and caused a shock on their 1996 debut by beating the West Indies, have been anxiously pushing for Test status for some time.

One of the reasons for their success may be the fact that, unlike other minnows, they have had the opportunity to play against the best sides in the world over the last few years.

In August 2002, they hosted a triangular tournament involving Australia and Pakistan before taking part in the ICC Champions Trophy against South Africa and the West Indies.

Despite losing all but one match which was rained out, the Kenyan performed admirably, gaining much-needed experience against top-class competition.


2003 World Cup

WORLD CUP RESULTS
Feb 12 South Africa beat Kenya
Feb 15 Kenya beat Canada
Feb 21 NZ v Kenya - cancelled
Kenya awarded four points
Feb 24 Kenya beat Sri Lanka
Mar 1 Kenya beat Bangladesh
Mar 4 West Indies beat Kenya
They were awarded four points without playing New Zealand, but showed their mettle against plenty of other sides in Group B.

After receiving a sound 10-wicket thrashing from South Africa, Kenya cruised past Canada before causing one of the shocks of the tournament by beating Sri Lanka.

Steve Tikolo's men then handed out more misery to perennial losers Bangladesh, despite the fact the Tigers were handed Test status ahead of Kenya in 2000.

Their final group match was against the West Indies, which they lost by 142 runs, but by this time they had already qualified for the second stage.


Striving for Test status

Their Super Six qualification has left many mystified as to why Kenya are not playing Test cricket, especially in light of Bangladesh's dismal display in South Africa.

The Tigers were given Test status ahead of the Kenyans after their 1999 World Cup upset Pakistan, but they are still seeking a first victory.

Tikolo's men rubbed salt in Bangladesh's wounds last week with their sixth victory in seven one-day meetings.

Their performance at the World Cup has only fuelled their demands for Test status.

Yet Kenya is not a cricket-mad nation like Bagladesh and does not have as many players to choose from as the Asian country.

Furthermore, Kenya's best players - with the exception of 21-year-old Obuya - are reaching the twilight of their careers and a new generation is not coming through to replace them.





Links to more Kenya stories


 

SEE ALSO
Odumbe wants Test status
02 Mar 03 |  Kenya
Tests for Kenya on horizon
24 Feb 03 |  Team Pages
Kenya's day to remember
01 Mar 03 |  Kenya


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