ICC Media Release
The Kenya team, for so long at the pinnacle of Associate cricket, is reeling from the defeat it suffered at the hands of a Gerrie Snyman-inspired Namibia in the ICC Intercontinental Cup last week.
Snyman hit a remarkable 230 out of Namibia's second-innings total of 282 before Kola Burger ran through the Kenya batting to make sure the south-west Africans beat their continental rivals by 101 runs. And it hurt Steve Tikolo and his men.
Now, they have the chance to make amends and a winning performance against the United Arab Emirates in Sharjah Stadium starting on Monday, will put them back on top of the table from where they have been displaced following Snyman and Burger's heroics last week.
'We have decided to put that match behind us,' said Kenya team manager Davinder Bharij. 'There were positives and negatives from it. Dropping Snyman when he was on 49 and again when he was about 110 are obviously negatives, along with the fact that Thomas Odoyo was unable to bowl for most of the second innings due injury.
'But we did get six points for securing a first-innings lead and it is a positive that we manage to bowl them out twice in the match. We are now very keen to get back out there and get our campaign back on track,' he said.
Preparations for the match have been hampered due to the fact that Collins Obuya has been ruled out due to a knee injury. With Tanmay Mishra not in the squad due to study commitments and Odoyo still not 100 per cent fit, the Kenya middle order is looking decidedly shaky.
'Losing Collins is a big blow but we have learned a lot from the game against Namibia. It was clear from the second innings that Namibia used its technical analyst resource better than we did. They bowled much better in the second innings and also their field placing was better after reviewing the video. We have identified that as an area of improvement for us,' said Bharij.
'Our aim is to get back on top of the table despite the injuries and absences in the team. That is our focus now,' he said.
For the UAE's part, skipper Saqib Ali is aware that a scorned Kenya is a dangerous one and he is determined not to write off his opponent just yet.
'Namibia played a good game but that doesn't mean Kenya are a bad side,' said Saqib.
'Far from it. They have very good players and I know their spinners (Hiren Varaiya and Tikolo) did well in that match. We are working hard in practice, mostly on our fielding, and we are improving day by day. I know we are seventh in the table but I believe we can finish much higher. We are competing in our matches and so we can do well,' he said.
Indeed, such is the congested nature of the table at present, an outright win would catapult the UAE to third place.
Namibia's victory last week cracked the title race wide open with Namibia now two points clear of Kenya at the top and the Netherlands 12 points further back on 34 points. Ireland is five points adrift of the Dutch on 29 points but it has a game in hand over the top three.
UAE is in seventh place, 17 points ahead of Bermuda but three points behind Canada and Scotland.
The umpires for the match will be Russell Tiffin of the Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires and Paul Baldwin of the ICC Associates and Affiliates Umpires' Panel. Play starts at 0930 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
United Arab Emirates (squad): Saqib Ali (captain), Arshad Ali, Khurram Khan, Amjad Ali, Alawi Shukri, Rashid Khan, Azhar Gul, Ahmad Raza, Fahad Al Hashimi, Waseem Bari, Shoib Sarwar, Obaid Hameed, Qasim Zubair.
Kenya (squad): Steve Tikolo (captain), Thomas Odoyo, Alex Obanda, Maurice Ouma, David Obuya, Tony Suji, Peter Ongondo, Alfred Luseno, Jimmy Kamande, Elijah Otieno, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Hiren Varaiya, Lameck Onyango.
Umpires: Russell Tiffin and Paul Baldwin