Kenya storm into semis of U-19 Cricket World Cup qualifiers

Cricket

Kenya U-19 players Manav Devani (left) and Vaibhav Naresh training at Nairobi Sikh Union on September 23, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kenya, coached by Josphat Irungu, are in Group “A” alongside Malawi, Ghana and Mozambique. Ghana failed to travel to Abuja for the competition while Mozambique are expected to arrive for the event on Sunday.
  • Group "B" consists of hosts Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Botswana and Rwanda.

Kenya on Saturday secured a place in semi-finals stage of the 2024 International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Division Two qualifiers.

This after they were awarded a walkover against Ghana at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, Nigeria.

Kenya had Friday opened their campaign with an impressive 286 runs victory (DLS method)  over Malawi.

Only the two top teams in both Groups “A” and “B” will progress to the semi-finals stage of the Division Two qualifiers.

Kenya, coached by Josphat Irungu, are in Group “A” alongside Malawi, Ghana and Mozambique. Ghana failed to travel to Abuja for the competition while Mozambique are expected to arrive for the event on Sunday.

Group "B" consists of hosts Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Botswana and Rwanda.

The top three teams at the end of the contest will progress to the final round of the World Cup Africa qualifiers – Division One where only the winning side will clinch the sole ticket to the global event.

Awaiting in Division One are Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Kenya started their campaign brightly with opening batsman Darsh Panchani smashing a double-century to lead the coach Irungu’s boys in thrashing the Malawians. In the match whose start was delayed by drizzles, Malawi won the toss and elected to field.

Kenya set an impressive target of 346 runs for the loss of eight wickets in 45 overs of their innings. In reply, the poor Malawians managed just 31 runs all-out in 14.5 overs of their innings.

Panchani, who opened Kenya’s batting alongside Brain Ihaji, was a thorn in the flesh for their opponents.

He starred with 210 runs off 132 balls including 11 fours and 12 sixes before being run out by Philip Zuze with less than an over remaining.

Ihaji was dismissed in the 11.6 overs after being caught by Owen Mndala off Grald Nyalugwe bowling. He was Kenya’s second top scorer with 33 runs from 36 balls including two fours.

Coach Irungu moved to avoid sharing points with Malawi by deploying his spinners to finish the job within the first 20 overs before rain interrupted the match. It worked out as Malawi had lost all their wickets by the 14.5overs.

Raj Manji took the most wickets for Kenya at three.

“We batted very well and because we never wanted to share points, we opted to finish the game early by using spinners to bowl the overs before it started raining,” said Irungu.

In the other match held Friday, hosts Nigeria thrashed Rwanda by 10 wickets in a Group A clash.


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