ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Kenya v New Zealand, World Cup 2011, Chennai

A lot to prove for both teams

The Preview by Firdose Moonda and Liam Brickhill

February 19, 2011

Comments: 17 | Text size: A | A

Match Facts

February 20, Chennai
Start time 09:30 local time (04:00 GMT)

New Zealand celebrate after Jacob Oram dismissed Virender Sehwag, India v New Zealand, World Cup 2011 warm-up, Chennai, February 16, 2011
Jacob Oram's form will be crucial if New Zealand are to make a serious impact in the World Cup © Getty Images
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Big Picture

Both New Zealand and Kenya have been through difficult patches in the recent past and will open their World Cup campaigns with plenty to prove. Kenya come across as the whipping boys of the group, along with Canada, but a demoralised New Zealand are ripe for the picking. New Zealand have come off a humiliating loss to India in their warm-up game and three consecutive bilateral ODI series defeats at the hands of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, so the need to show some intent is pressing.

New Zealand have gone from being one of the sides that was always there and thereabouts to the forgotten men of international competitions but given the format of this World Cup, they have almost no excuse to not make it to the quarter-finals.

The World Cup is Daniel Vettori's last international series as captain; he would like to leave a lasting impression and he has the personnel to help him do that. The middle order is New Zealand's marshmallow and if they can firm up that section, they should be able to pull off a decent all-round performance. They will be the team the minnows are targetting in this group and in order to restore self belief they could do with a solid win under their belts.

For Kenya, a win over any side will do and beating a full member will be punching above their weight. A close defeat to the Netherlands in their second warm-up illustrated what they are capable of with both bat and ball. The top five batsmen are all capable of getting big scores with Seren Waters leading the line-up. Their string of medium pacers have been economical and effective and if they can capitalise on the mentorship they've been receiving from people like the Kirsten brothers and Jonty Rhodes, they may have a rabbit or two to pull out of the hat.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

New Zealand: WLLLW Kenya: WLWLL

Pitch and conditions

The Chennai pitch worried South Africa captain Graeme Smith despite his team cantering to an eight-wicket win in a warm-up game against Zimbabwe last week. There doesn't appear to be too much life in it, for either the seamers or the spinners and the batsmen are the ones who could benefit the most. It is likely to be a hot day in Chennai, but the heat should be tempered somewhat by some cloud cover.

Watch out for…

One of the most exciting young batsmen to come out of Kenya in a while, Alex Obanda is a strokeplayer, who will probably open the innings. His shots are as flamboyant as his frosted hairstyle, and Kenya will look to him as the ideal foil for more circumspect opening partner, Waters, to attack the new ball and score boundaries with the field up.

Injuries and dwindling confidence have taken some of the spark out of Jacob Oram's gameplay in recent times, but there is no doubting his talent and if New Zealand are going to get out of their slump and be serious contenders in this tournament, they need a fit and firing Oram in the lower middle order. He didn't have much impact in New Zealand's warm-ups, scoring 17 runs in two innings and picking up two expensive wickets, and a return to form is well overdue.

Team news

Offspinner Nathan McCullum spent Thursday and Friday night in hospital after being admitted with high fever. He participated in a light training session on Saturday but remains a doubtful starter. Luke Woodcock may play in his place but that would keep a batsman out of the side. Should New Zealand opt for the extra batsmen, like Jamie How, they may find themselves a bowler short.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendan McCullum, 3 Jessie Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Franklin, 6 Scott Stryis, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Luke Woodcock, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Tim Southee

Kenya have had a fairly settled unit in recent times, and without any injuries to worry them, the playing XI practically picks itself. With both the spinning Ngoche brothers likely to play on what should be a helpful surface, the one question may be who to pick between Tanmay Mishra and Rakep Patel, as both have impressed in the middle order.

1 Seren Waters, 2 Alex Obanda, 3 Collins Obuya, 4 Tanmay Mishra/Rakep Patel, 5 Steve Tikolo, 6 Maurice Ouma (wk), 7 Jimmy Kamande (capt), 8 Thomas Odoyo, 9 James Ngoche, 10 Shem Ngoche, 11 Nehemiah Odhiambo

Try picking the XIs for tomorrow's game by playing Team Selector.

Alex Obanda top-scored for Kenya with 40, Ireland v Kenya, ICC World Cricket League Division One, Rotterdam, July 1, 2010
Kenya will look to Alex Obanda to provide an explosive start at the top of the order © Getty Images

Stats and trivia

  • Kenya and New Zealand have met just once before in World Cups, with New Zealand handing out a 148-run thrashing at Gros Islet in 2007.

  • The second-oldest man at the World Cup, after Canada's John Davison, Steve Tikolo is just a shade under 40. He's also his country's leading batsman, having scored more runs and more hundreds and fifties than any other player to represent Kenya.

  • To say that New Zealand haven't had the greatest time on the subcontinent lately is to put it mildly, as they slumped to 11 straight losses in the region, before going down to Pakistan at home.

  • Jesse Ryder had a quiet 2010 thanks to a couple of nagging injuries, but he's started 2011 with a bang, blazing to a hundred to set up a consolation win over Pakistan in the sixth ODI at Eden Park. Another New Zealand batsman in unexpectedly good nick is James Franklin, who's scored three half-centuries in his last six innings, narrowly missing out on a hundred in Bangalore in December.


    "Any team that takes us lightly will do so at their own peril. We practiced very hard for this after our training camp in India and the mood in the camp is as good as it can be."
    Jimmy Kamande is confident that his side will not be pushovers

    "We can't take them lightly because they are an unknown quantity, we do not know much about them"
    Daniel Vettori warns against complacency on the eve of his side's first game

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent and Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo


Comments: 17 
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Posted by Adrian on (February 20, 2011, 1:08 GMT)

Kenya are ranked 14th out of 14 teams here, but I think that they are probably the best of the minnows in this group, even ahead of Zimbabwe perhaps, and are a real chance here. NZ are favourites but I think it's more like 5:1 than the 50:1 or so that it is being predicted. It wouldn't be a total upset if Kenya won this.

Posted by Jon on (February 19, 2011, 23:20 GMT)

As a long time supporter of NZ cricket I can only hope that the appointment of John Wright will help restore the New Zealand team's confidence. When he took over as coach of India they were thin in bowling much like NZL are now, yet he taught the Indian side to believe in themselves, to believe that they could win and look at them now! Maybe NZL should drop the name 'Black Caps' too... branding opportunities aside it doesnt appear to be helping the team performance.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 19, 2011, 21:54 GMT)

good test here for NZ, a poor to average performance albeit a almost certain win wont help the confidence, the top 5 all need a score and with good strikerates and the opening bowlers need to stifle Kenya at the start. All this for NZ to have something to build on in the next few matches else its going to be a long road to a quick quarter final exit. NZ have very good batting talent however no one is consisitent right now. NZ need Jesse Ryder to have a purple patch if they are to do well in the cup and I think everyone will enjoy it if he does as he is excellent to watch and so free flowing and easy...go Jesse and go NZ

Posted by Andrew on (February 19, 2011, 21:42 GMT)

@Min2000 Agree with u. NZ are a lot better than their recent form suggests. Once they get back to winning form, and self belief returns, they could beat any side in the world. It's mindset thing at the moment they they need to get over. On paper they have a devastating batting lineup, solid and experienced allrounders in Styris and Oram. Bowling is tad thin at the moment, though. But otherwise they just need to look at their own lack of self belief to get back to their previous high ODI ranking.

Posted by Jay on (February 19, 2011, 21:38 GMT)

I respect Daniel Vettori as a cricketer and wish his team the best. NZ should win easily against Kenya however anything could happen when the Blackcaps play. They haven't been in good form lately so things could play in their minds. I am a neutral and all I want is a thrilling game of cricket. Chennai is a wonderful city and the venue is world class. It should be a cracker !

Posted by Stuart on (February 19, 2011, 21:35 GMT)

I wouldn't be surprised if Franklin gets a run instead of Oram as he's in better form. NZ will bat first if they win the toss and then look to strangle Kenya. Watch out for Jesse Ryder who is NZs most destructive batsman, don't expect too much from Taylor who's badly out of form.

Posted by Jon on (February 19, 2011, 20:36 GMT)

This is not a great period for NZ cricket. We dont have a large pool of players to choose from and haven't yet recovered from losing players like Bond, Fleming, O'Brien etc. On the upside we still have Guptil, Williamson, Ryder, Taylor, Vettori, McCullum and Southee, who are all world class -- if we can produde a few young quicks there may be hope for the future.

Posted by Calvin on (February 19, 2011, 20:08 GMT)

Maybe a tight match...GO KENYA...the Indians will be with you!!!

Posted by Wachucha on (February 19, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

If u look at their past 5 matches they both are with two wins. This could be the first upset.....

Posted by SHAHID on (February 19, 2011, 18:32 GMT)

newzeland lot of depend on Oram and vettori i think n.land will win easyly

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