ICC Media Release
Kenya captain Steve Tikolo has a long memory. He still recalls vividly the ICC Intercontinental Cup final of 2005 when his men needed just a draw against Ireland on the flattest of flat wickets in sunny Windhoek, Namibia.
After Tikolo and company had piled on the runs on the first day, of which the skipper scored 177, solid batting and then a clever declaration by Ireland was followed by some great slow bowling by Kyle McCallan and Andrew White meant curtains for the Kenyans.
And it still hurts. Now, could history be about to repeat itself? Going into this final group match of the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2007-08 in Nairobi on Saturday such is the points table, Kenya needs just a draw against Ireland to qualify for next month's final.
'If we draw the game or even lose having won the points for securing a first-innings lead, it will be enough,' said Tikolo.
'But we remember what happened in 2005 and we will be trying to put that right. I still have nightmares about that match,' said the 37-year-old all-rounder.
This is essentially a semi-final with the winner going through to play Namibia in the final. Sitting 10 points behind Kenya in the table, Ireland must win outright having either tied or been ahead after the first innings.
'It will not be easy for us,' said Tikolo. 'We will need to play extremely well because Ireland has proved itself to be a very good side. It would mean a lot to us to get through to the final so this is a huge game.
'We recently had a couple of very valuable four-day matches against a Pakistan Academy team. They had some classy players in their team and it was useful for us to get some more practice with the longer form of the game.
'Our batsmen, in particular, do not always play the best when it comes to three or four-day cricket. They need to show more patience and spend more time out in the middle. That is where we must improve and the game against the Pakistanis definitely helped with that.
'I notice that Ireland were twice bowled out cheaply by Namibia recently so maybe their batsmen are low on confidence. We will be targeting them and trying to exploit that,' said Tikolo.
Kenya has included uncapped 18-year-old Seren Waters in the squad that otherwise is full of familiar names. Opening batsman Waters, who has played for Surrey seconds, is considered to be a bright prospect and was a leading light of Cranleigh School in England although he was born in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, Ireland comes into this game on a high after its dramatic eight-run victory over Namibia last week. The apparent fragility of the batting line-up might be a cause of concern for coach Phil Simmons but the spirit and never-say-die attitude of his players will no doubt have impressed him. And when it comes down to the business end of a tournament such as this, it is difficult to overestimate the value of that.
Kenya: Steve Tikolo (captain), Jimmy Kamande, Alfred Luseno, Alex Obanda, Kennedy Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Thomas Odoyo, Peter Ongondo, Lameck Onyango, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Rakep Patel, Ondik Suji, Hiren Varaiya, Seren Waters, David Obuya.
Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Andre Botha, Peter Connell, Alex Cusack, Phil Eaglestone, Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Andrew Poynter, Boyd Rankin, Regan West, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.
Umpires: Russell Tiffin and Marais Erasmus (Emirates International Panel of ICC Umpires)