Kenya confident ahead of opening clash against New Zealand

Kenya had upset West Indies and Sri Lanka at the 1996 and 2033 World Cups respectively

Chennai: Feb 19, 2011

Kenya will go into their opening World Cup game against New Zealand drawing confidence from stellar past performances at cricket’s showpiece event, captain Jimmy Kamande said on Saturday.

The rank outsiders pulled off an upset win against the West Indies in the 1996 World Cup and followed it up with a victory over Sri Lanka in 2003 on way to the semi-finals. “We want to do what we normally do. We have improved our batting and on the bowling side, we are coming together. We want to play to our potential and allow the result to take care of itself,” Kamande told reporters in Chennai ahead of their opening clash against the Black Caps on Sunday.

Kamande said his side would not be cowed by the bigger nations at the World Cup. “We know that the top 14 countries in the world are competing and no team can be taken lightly. Our result will talk about our performance at the end of the day.

“We are going to play our brand of cricket that we know best. We are geared up to get good results. We are well organised and prepared. We will enjoy ourselves and not copy any other team.”

Kenya have been placed in Group A with defending champions Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Canada and Zimbabwe, with the top four making it to the quarter-finals.

Kenyan coach Eldine Baptiste sounded equally upbeat about his side’s chances. “Looking at our group, I have no doubt in my mind that we can cause a few upsets,” he said. “We will give 110 per cent in batting, bowling and fielding and we can beat anyone in this tournament.”

Kenya’s newly appointed fielding coach, former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, said fielding would be key to the team’s fortunes. “The Kenyans are natural athletes and they could be the best team in terms of fielding.

“The conditions will also suit them as they have come from Dubai and have been in Colombo. Conditions are very similar to what we were expecting. It does not make any difference to us. If anybody is going to benefit from these conditions here they will be the Kenyan guys.”