Kenya face tough test in T20 World Cup qualifiers in Dubai
Nairobi, Sep 12: Kenya's long wait to qualify for the cricket T20 World Cup has run into headwinds after it was pooled alongside two highest ranked countries, Scotland and the Netherlands.
The two European teams were the joint winners of the previous qualifying event and return to seek another ticket to the finals in 2020, which will be played in Adelaide, Australia. Others in the pool are Namibia, Bermuda, Papua New Guinea and Singapore, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, head coach Maurice Odumbe remains upbeat. Kenyan team, which is yet to start training owing to administrative wrangles and lack of funds, will put up a strong team to challenge for the top two spots and make their maiden show at the T20 World Cup.
"You don't expect an easy pool at this stage of competition. It's a tough pool that we have to play, be competitive and do what we need to do to qualify," said Odumbe on Wednesday in Nairobi. "We have a hard target and Kenya must be at its best if we are to survive the pool matches."
Scotland, who are the top-ranked side in the 14-team tournament, will take on Singapore in the opener in Dubai while the Netherlands will take on Kenya later in the day at the same venue.
Coach Odumbe said he is working on the team's batting and fielding, which are key prior to their departure to Dubai.
"We need to change our fielding and our batting line-up. Our bowlers need to know that they will have no time to start changing anything and the fielding must be right," he said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 men's World Cup qualifier will be held in the United Arab Emirates from October 18 to November 2.