What you need to know:
- Kenya’s disastrous batting especially in the power play and fielding laid bare in the match – their first defeat in the seven-team tournament
- Namibia remain favouties to qualify for the World Cup as the top team in the Africa Regional qualifier since they have bagged maximum points in all four matches that they have played
- Choosing to bowl first after winning the toss, Namibia superbly restricted Kenya to 104 runs for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs
Kenya’s hopes to qualify for the 2024 International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup were dented on Monday when they lost by six wickets to hosts Namibia in the ongoing Africa Regional qualifier at United Cricket Club Ground in Windhoek.
Kenya’s disastrous batting especially in the power play and fielding laid bare in the match – their first defeat in the seven-team tournament where the top two teams will qualify for the upcoming World Cup to be co-hosted by the United States of America and West Indies from June 4 to 30.
Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Rwanda are the other teams featuring in the competition.
Namibia remain favouties to qualify for the World Cup as the top team in the Africa Regional qualifier since they have bagged maximum points in all four matches that they have played.
The South African nation tops the standings with eight points, two more than second-placed Kenya.
Choosing to bowl first after winning the toss, Namibia superbly restricted Kenya to 104 runs for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs.
The hosts, who are the second top-seeded team in the tournament completed the chase in 15.2 overs with 106 runs for the loss of four wickets.
According to the latest ICC rankings, Zimbabwe are 11th, while Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Rwanda follow in that order at position 12, 23, 30, 32, 38 and 62 respectively.
Kenya was in serious trouble when they managed just 21 runs in the power play where they lost opening batsman Rushab Patel.
Thanks to superb fielding and bowling by Namibia, Rushab Patel and experienced Collins Obuya failed to set Kenya on the path to victory with a decent score.
Rushab Patel marched to the pavilion in the second over with just one run to his name off 10 balls, before Obuya followed him there in the eighth over after being bowled out by Helao YaFrance.
The evergreen batsman delivered just 15 runs from 22 deliveries including a four. Irfan Karim’s 43 runs off 47 including two fours and a six was Kenya’s stand-out performance in their innings. The third batsman was not out.
Pushkar Sharma, Sachin Bhudia, Shem Ngoche, Sukhdeep Singh and stand-in captain Lucas Oluoch delivered five, 18, two, eight and four runs respectively. Having picked three wickets inside the opening seven overs including Namibia’s dangerman Niko Davin, there was a glimmer of hope that Kenya could upset the hosts.
But a series of misfielding including in the 10th over when Bhudia dropped the ball off Jan Frylinck’s batting cost Kenya the match.
In the end, Frylinck who was the third batsman was crowned the man of the match after top scoring with 57 runs from 41 balls including four fours and a six. He was not out.
Vraj Patel took the most wickets for Kenya at two.
“We started very slowly. Through the innings, we were looking to build strong partnerships but it was too late by the time we started to accelerate,” said Oluoch.
“We have our heads up because we still have two games remaining. We want to take each game at a time and stick to the basics.”
In their next match on Wednesday, Kenya will renew their rivalry with Uganda, before concluding the campaign on Thursday with a match against Zimbabwe.