ICC World Cricket League 2006-07 / News

Kenya v Scotland, World Cricket League final, Nairobi

A final clash for bragging rights

Will Luke in Nairobi

February 6, 2007

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What the two teams are playing for, but really the big prize came earlier © Cricinfo Ltd
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Some say that a final is a moment to enjoy rather than something to approach with trepidation and that is true of this tournament more than any other. With their $250,000 bounty safety in the back pocket, the result of the tomorrow's final is purely about bragging rights.

However, that doesn't mean Kenya and Scotland won't slug it out with all they have and there were no signs of any letup from the hosts in intensity following a gruelling training session marshalled by their coach, Roger Harper.

"We're as well prepared as we can be, given that we have played two back-to-back games and have just one day off before the final," he said at the impressive Aga Khan sports club, Kenya's principle training ground during this event, on the eve of the World Cricket League final. "However we feel from a physical perspective, I'm sure Scotland will be feeling the same."

The intensity of the training session was only matched by the fierce heat of the sun, scorching the outfield even at 10am this morning. The players looked fit and energetic - and they will need to be against Scotland, arguably the fittest of the six Associates. Does Harper have any specific tactics to contain Scotland's rollicking batting?

"Yes," he confirmed, with a smirk forming. He eventually elaborated that Kenya's tactics were "to play as well as we can play. It's not rocket science. We just need to play as well as we can play, in every department.

"It's an important day. It's a final of a tournament and an opportunity to show how well we can play. We're looking forward to it."



Scotland have been well-lead by Craig Wright © AFP
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Scotland have come through some tough examinations to reach the final, especially their one-run nail-biter against Ireland. Well led by Craig Wright, whose ten wickets have cost under 19 each, Scotland's batting has been solid and reliable with Gavin Hamilton nudging and nurdling three fifties and the new, slimline Majid Haq showing encouraging consistency with bat and ball.

But as Kenya have shown throughout this event, they are capable of special, unlikely victories when all seems lost. It was clear from the closing ceremony last night, too, that they are exceptionally well motivated - aided, perhaps, by their entry into September's Twenty20 World Championships and the not-to-be-sniffed-at quarter of a million dollars.

"It was so important for us to qualify," Harper said. "The money means a lot, for the development of the game, but it's about having something to target for. And we need that.

"We're a happy unit [at the moment] but I guess you get that when you're playing well. It's a chicken and egg situation. You play well when you're happy and when the team spirit is good. We've worked hard, the team are gelling and it's really coming together now."

Harper chooses his words carefully. As the team piled their bags into the military-grey coach, there was a quiet, calm confidence - and a mixture of nervous anticipation - emanating from his troops. They are all too aware of the threat Scotland pose, but also aware that the main job has been done.

Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo

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Will Luke Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.
Related Links
Players/Officials: Roger Harper | Craig Wright
Teams: Kenya | Scotland
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