Rakep promises to catapult Kenya back to glory as they prepare to host Hong Kong
Kenya men’s national cricket team goes into their two-match ICC World Cricket League with Hong Kong, yearning to take Kenya back to the World arena this weekend in Nairobi.
Coached by former national team player Thomas Odoyo, the Kenyan side is seeking to beat Hong Kong in the two-day show set for tomorrow (Friday) and Sunday at the Nairobi Gymkhana Club.
Kenya are currently placed fifth with six points in the eight-team ICC World Cricket League table, behind leaders Papua New Guinea ( 12 ), Netherlands ( 12 ), Scotland ( 11 ) and Hong Kong ( 9 ). Nepal ( 6 ), Namibia ( 2 ) and United Arab Emirates ( 2 ), close the table.In the world league, Kenya have registered mixed results, beating Namibia 2-0, sharing spoils ( 1-1 ) with UAE and losing to leaders Papua New Guinea 2-0. The eight outfits are battling for two slots to the 2019 ICC World Cup qualifier.
Kenya’s captain Rakep Patel intimated that his teammates are in high spirits ahead of the tourney and ready to catapult Kenya back to the past International glory.
“We are confident to deliver a win over Hong Kong. We are well aware of the importance of this tie and we are not taking the visiting team for granted,” said Patel, who is an all-rounder, together with Collins Obuya. “We believe in ourselves; we have prepared well and hopefully, we will execute magnificently to deliver Kenya back to the world stage,” he added.
The two squads have locked horns twice in the past with Kenya beating the visitors Hong Kong on both occasions ( 1994 and 2014 ). On February 23, 1994, in the ABN-Amro ICC Tro- phy Group E, Kenya beat Hong Kong by eight wickets (with 204 balls remaining) at Nairobi Gymkhana Club.
On March 25, 2014, in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, Kenya also defeated Hong Kong by 10 runs (D/L method) at the Mainpower Oval, Rangiora, New Zealand.
Odoyo noted that there is pressure on both sides and the result will depen on how each team copes with it.
Apart from returning to the global arena, Kenyans hope to extend their dominance over Hong Kong, while the visitors look to break the jinx.
“The side that manages to balance off the pressure; do their basics to perfection and execute well will carry the day,” said Odoyo, who played in the 2003 World Cup semi-finals.
Fondly referred to as ‘Method Captain,’ Hong Kong’s skipper Babar Hayat who scored 82 runs on November 6 against Papua New Guinea, said his teammates and himself are looking to write new records in Nairobi.