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October 23, 2008
For the third day running heavy overnight rain ruled out any chance of play in the Kenya Tri-Series, in effect reducing the round-robin tournament to a near farce. Ireland found themselves eliminated from Saturday's final on net Run Rate because their defeat, against Zimbabwe, had been heavier than Zimbabwe's against Kenya.
It was an unsatisfactory state of affairs, but staging the event at this time of year had always been a gamble. Cricket Kenya's hands were tied, however, as it needed to get hold of Ireland while they were in Africa for Intercontinental Cup matches and it had to make the most of Zimbabwe's availability as it needed matches against a Full Member country before the end of the year to fulfill a media deal with Nimbus.
Privately, board officials are believed to be extremely unhappy with facilities at Nairobi Gymkhana, Nairobi's major ground and the venue for the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy. While the square has coped well with the rain, the outfield is reported to be sodden, largely as a result of hopelessly inadequate drainage.
The final will now be between Kenya and Zimbabwe. Kenya, despite poor form of late, were boosted by a convincing win over Zimbabwe on Sunday, their third win in their last five ODI meetings, and will aim for a repeat of that as they prepare to travel to South Africa for two ODIs at the end of the month. Zimbabwe desperately need a win to erase memories of that defeat as well as a humiliating loss to Uganda last week.
The weather, perhaps fittingly, might have the last say with more overnight rain forecast. Locals suspect that the Gymkhana's drainage might not be up to the task if too much falls in the next 48 hours.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?