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Tikolo targets cricket world cup berth

07 January 2014, 18:30

Nairobi - The Kenya cricket team jetted out Monday for Christchurch in New Zealand, buoyant, seeking for qualification to the 2015 ICC World Cup.

This will be a harder task for the country, which is going through a revolution in the sport, as they seek their sixth appearance in the World Cup.

During the last World Cup finals in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Kenya returned home winless and believe the experience will help them secure a slot in the 2015 event.

Player cum Coach Tom Tikolo is optimistic about Kenya chances.

"We are going to meet teams that we have played before. This tournament is important for us to showcase that the sport is picking up in Kenya. We want to make it to the finals and there is only one way to do that, win in at the Christchurch World Cup qualifiers," said Tikolo.

The New Zealand show is the last qualification round for Associate Nations and others who failed to make it through Intercontinental Cup.

The qualifiers would involve 10 teams divided into two groups of five and the top two finishers, after Super Six Stage, advance to the World Cup.

Group A consists of the United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong of China and Nepal, while group B includes the Netherlands, Kenya, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.

The two finalists will take the last remaining spots in the World Cup draw. Ireland and Afghanistan have already qualified.

The group stage of the tournament will be held between Jan. 13 and 23, followed by the Super Six stage from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1.

The schedule for the Super Six stage is based on rankings given to teams in the group stages. If the top three teams qualify for the Super Six stage, they retain their group-stage ranking irrespective of their position in the points table.

However, if a team that is ranked fourth or fifth in the group stage qualifies for the Super Six, they will assume the ranking of the team they have displaced.

Kenya will be seeking its sixth appearance in the one day international World Cup.

Cricket Kenya (CK) selectors have recalled a number of veteran players to the team, including Steve Tikolo, who was recalled from retire to guide Kenya in the unsuccessful Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers campaign played in Dubai last October.

Tikolo replaced Robin Brown, who stood down after the side's failure to qualify for the 2014 World Twenty20.

Also recalled is Thomas Odoyo, a veteran of four World Cup events. He will also participate in the event as player cum coach.

Rakep Patel will assume the captaincy from Collins Obuya. Tikolo has also recalled Lameck Onyango to the team.

Kenya bowling order was a big setback in Dubai and Tikolo said they have worked on it. "We are good with bowling and hopefully in New Zealand it will be one of our strong points," said Tikolo.

The captain Rakep Patel is not losing sleep over the big role he carries. "Our first target would be to qualify for the Super Six Stage and thereafter we plan ahead," Patel said. "If Kenya can qualify for the next World Cup, it will be the right step forward. "

"We wasted the first chance to qualify through Intercontinental Cup. Then we also failed to make it through to 2014 Twenty20 World. This is now the last opportunity to redeem Kenyan cricket."

Rakep said: "All teams in our group are tough and so we expect very competitive matches."

Top three finishers in the Group "B" join the best three teams in Pool "A" to form Super Six Stage. Super Six final qualify for the 2015 World Cup.

- Xinhua


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