Zimbabwe v Kenya, 3rd ODI, Harare March 2, 2006

Harper upbeat but Curran fumes

Cricinfo staff

Steve Tikolo, Kenya's captain, and coach Roger Harper paid tribute to each other after Wednesday's 65-run victory over Zimbabwe had given the Kenyans a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. Kenya will record their first ever ODI series win if they beat Zimbabwe.

"The coach has been working hard with the boys," Tikolo told reporters after the game. "He's made a big impact. Since he joined us, he has made a marked improvement in drills, professionalism and discipline."

Tikolo said although he was delighted by the win, his side had not batted particularly well. "I thought we fell short in batting. We discussed it during lunch, and decided that we would go out and give it a big shot. After what has happened in Kenya it will be nice to win. To us every game is important. We are taking it game by game."

Harper, who took over as Kenya coach five weeks ago, praised his players for their commitment. "What has impressed me is the spirit in the guys," he said. "The players play for each other. Today [Wednesday] was a demonstration of self-believe and team work. The captain made good bowling changes. They played well."

Tikolo and Harper's comments where in sharp contrast to Zimbabwe's coach and captain - Kevin Curran and Terry Duffin - who also spoke to journalists after the game.

"We bowled particularly well," Curran said. "To restrict them to 134 was exceptional for our bowlers but the batsman played badly. Kenya have an ordinary attack. We were not bowled out. We gave it away. There is no excuse for playing like we did.

"The players can only blame themselves. It's total irresponsibility. We've seen the Kenyan bowling and it's not frightening. The players just didn't listen to the game plan. If you go and play like that, you don't deserve to win any games."

With his coach in a charged mood, Duffin offered no excuses. "The basic game plan went out of the window," he admitted. Curran, meanwhile, was reported to have been even more forthright with Zimbabwe's young side in the aftermath of the defeat.