Kenya v New Zealand, Group C, ICC World Twenty20 September 11, 2007

New Zealand should be a shoo-in

Daniel Vettori leads a side that hasn't played much since the World Cup in the West Indies © AFP
While New Zealand come into the match with a new captain and a well-deserved break after their run to the semi-final in the 50-over World Cup, the Kenyans are probably ruing their decision to host a Twenty20 quadrangular tournament in their own backyard; defeats against Pakistan and Bangladesh (though they did defeat the latter in the warm-ups) were probably forgotten when Kenya went down to Uganda as well. New Zealand, with Daniel Vettori at the helm, are one of the more experienced sides in Twenty20 terms though they will be without their influential captain Stephen Fleming, and three other players from the World Cup team.

Bat play: Brendon McCullum has given up his gloves to concentrate on his batting in the tournament while Jacob Oram's power-filled hitting looks all set to be utilised at the number three position. Scott Styris, New Zealand's most experienced Twenty20 player and their best at the World Cup in the West Indies, will be the most feared by the bowlers, fitness permitting.

For Kenya, Steve Tikolo, as in recent years, stands as their best hope. Alex Obanda, the 19-year old is considered a promising prospect with Thomas Odoyo, the allrounder who was recently voted ICC Associate Player of the Year, to follow down the order.

Wrecking ball: While New Zealand have the likes of Shane Bond, who is supported by Mark Gillespie, Jacob Oram and Scott Styris, there will be special emphasis on Vettori and Jeetan Patel, their two frontline spinners, to stem the flow of runs in the middle stages.

Kenya, meanwhile, will once again rely on Odoyo and Tikolo with Peter Ongondo, who recently impressed in the warm-ups, to provide support.

Keep your eyes on: Jacob Oram's prowess up the order will be a treat if he gets going, especially now that Chris Gayle has set the hard-hitting standards in the opening match. In the reverse innings, Shane Bond, if at full throttle, will be aiming for the base of middle stump.

Pitching it right: The Kingsmead pitch is likely to be fast and bouncy, fodder for Bond and Oram. While minnows have made it a habit to turn the tables when the world is watching, this encounter lacks the ingredients for an upset. Kenya's batting looks fragile against the fire-power that New Zealand possess.

New Zealand(likely): Brendon McCullum, Lou Vincent, Peter Fulton, Jacob Oram, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Gareth Hopkins (wk), Daniel Vettori (capt), Shane Bond, Mark Gillespie, Jeetan Patel

Kenya(likely): David Obuya, Collins Obuya, Tanmay Mishra, Steve Tikolo (capt), Thomas Odoyo, Alex Obanda, Jimmy Kamande, Rajesh Bhudia, Maurice Ouma (wk), Nehemiah Odhiambo, Peter Ongondo

Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo