Cricket Kenya Chairman Samir Inamdar has admitted his side desperately needs to beat fellow Group B side Canada in Toronto if it is to maintain its pursuit of a place in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup for a second successive year.

Kenya, losing finalists to Ireland in 2005, failed to gain a point from its opening encounter against the Netherlands in Nairobi back in April.

And with only one side from each of the two groups going through to the final of the first-class competition for non-Test playing sides this time around, Inamdar admitted the pressure was on his players to produce a result in the four-day match starting on Saturday.

'If we don't win then our chances are pretty much scuppered,' he said.

'The Netherlands are riding high in the group (after collecting the six points available for a first innings lead against Kenya) and the Bermuda - Canada match (starting on 12 August) is likely to be critical, but we have got to be realistic - we have to win.'

But despite the pressure of having to perform, Inamdar believes his side has the credentials to produce a positive result.

'We have got Steve Tikolo, Kennedy Otieno, Collins Obuya and Hitesh Modi amongst others, all experienced players used to winning, and they know what to do,' he said.

Not for the first time, veteran captain Tikolo - who, along with Modi, has been playing league cricket in the UK - is likely to be a key figure in deciding the fate of this match.

Last year's leading run-scorer in the tournament with 751 runs, Tikolo opened this campaign with an unbeaten 212 against the Netherlands that ensured his side did not lose and his will be the wicket Canada will prize above all others.

The Kenya squad shows five changes from the one that was on duty in that previous match.

Out goes fast bowler Alfred Luseno and swing bowler Rajesh Bhudia, both injured on the recent Kenya A tour of Denmark.

Also sidelined is all-rounder Kalpesh Patel, ruled out by work commitments, while fellow all-rounder Ashish Karia and batsman-wicketkeeper Maurice Ouma have been dropped.

Ouma's spot behind the stumps is set to go to Kennedy Otieno with the veteran recalled after losing his place through a combination of form and disciplinary issues while jack-of-all-trades Jimmy Kamande is also back.

Seam bowler Nehemiah Odhiambo, who featured in last year's ICC Winter Training Camp in South Africa, is included and two other uncapped players, batsman-wicketkeeper Timothy Muange and left-arm spinner Hiren Varaiya have been chosen.

'Both are products of the U/19 system and that is important because it is a time of rebuilding and we want to get the youngsters in the frame,' said Inamdar.

'Hiren is someone Roger (Harper, the Kenya coach) is very keen on and could be a major slow-bowling option for the Cricket World Cup while Timothy is a young opening batsman who also fills a role on this trip as a back-up ‘keeper to Kennedy.'

Canada coach Andy Pick said the match will be a good indicator of the progress his side is making.

'When we played in the ODI tri-series in Trinidad in May (against Bermuda and Zimbabwe, losing both matches) we were coming out of our winter and we had not played on grass in the build-up,' he said.

'We have not got the crutch of that excuse this time and we have got to step up because this is a game we need to win.'

The Canada squad got together on Wednesday ahead of two days of practice on grass, something considered vital to its chances as most league matches in the country take place on matting surfaces.

In the same way that Tikolo is a talisman for Kenya, off-spinning all-rounder John Davison fills the same role for the home side and he takes his place in the side after surgery on his right elbow to remove a bone spur.

Canada is without batsman Ian Billcliff because of work commitments as a teacher in New Zealand, although he will be back for the match against Bermuda.

His place in the squad is taken by Pubudu Dassanayaka and the veteran former Sri Lanka international will be relied upon, along with Geoff Barnett and Stewart Heaney, to post sizeable contributions.

In left-arm swing bowler Umar Bhatti and fast bowler Henry Osinde - two players that impressed at the Winter Training Camp - Canada have potentially the best opening attack in Associate cricket.

And the squad also includes two left-arm spinners, Naresh Patel and Puvendran Ravishankar.

After a long lead-up to the side's opening ICC Intercontinental Cup match this season, former England U/19 coach Pick is keen to get started and is optimistic about Canada's long-term playing strength.

'Having been around and seeing what I have seen, I think there is enough natural talent around for Canada to be potentially the top Associate country,' he said.

The other sides in Group B are Bermuda - which plays it first match, against Canada starting on 12 August - and the Netherlands.

Group A is already shaping up as a battle of the two previous winners with both the 2004 champions Scotland and last year's winners Ireland, off to winning starts, each with a victory over Namibia in May. The other side in that group, the United Arab Emirates, is yet to start its campaign.

The final, set to take place in the first half of 2007, will be between the two group winners.

A new format this year means sides will play a minimum of three four-day matches in this tournament, increasing to seven four-day matches in 2007 and 2008 when it is hoped the event will be a full round-robin format.

That compares to a minimum of just two three-day matches per year under the previous structure which, until the semi-finals, was regionally-based rather than global.

The ICC Intercontinental Cup began in 2004 to give the leading players from Associate sides the chance to improve by exposing them to a longer form of the game.

The umpires for the match include Roger Dill, a member of the ICC Associate and Affiliate International Panel.

The two sides play two ODIs against each other, on 5 and 6 August, with all-rounder George Coddrington, slow-left arm spinner Kevin Sandher, right-arm medium-pace bowler Sanjayam Thuraisingam and veteran batsman Desmond Chumney coming into the Canada squad.

Canada (from): John Davison (captain), Qaiser Ali, Ashish Bagai (wicketkeeper), Geoff Barnett, Umar Bhatti, Pubudu Dassanayaka, Sunil Dhaniram, Haninder Dhillon, Stewart Heaney, Don Maxwell, Henry Osinde, Naresh Patel, Puvendran Ravishankar

Kenya (from): Steve Tikolo (captain), Jimmy Kamande, Tanmay Mishra, Hitesh Modi, Timothy Muange, Collins Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Thomas Odoyo, Peter Ongondo, Kennedy Otieno (wicketkeeper), Brijal Patel, Tony Suji, Hiren Varaiya.

Umpires: Roger Dill & Courtney Young.