Kenya on the ropes

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COLOMBO, February 28- Kenya face double trouble ahead of their all-important World Cup Group A match against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday, as they counter formidable opponents and differences between players and coach.

Kenya have lost both their matches at the tournament, going down by 10 wickets against New Zealand, after being shot out for just 69, before slumping to a 205-run loss to Pakistan.

Adding to their problems, reports have emerged of internal divisions within the squad.

Cricket Kenya chief Samir Inamdar on Sunday blamed differences between the players and West Indian coach Eldine Baptiste for their lacklustre performances.

But Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande brushed aside the reports, saying his team is united.

"There is no fighting, no worries," said Kamande. "Maybe there is miscommunication, but I can assure you we are all here as a family and are happy. We will show some improvement in future games."

Kenyan cricket has been dogged by political problems since the famous run to the 2003 World Cup semi-finals.

It was in that World Cup where Kenya beat Sri Lanka in Nairobi, but that is their only win in five clashes between the two nations.

Kenya have four survivors from that match — Steve Tikolo, Collins Obuya, Thomas Odoyo and Peter Ongondo — but the team looks a pale shadow of that side at the current tournament.

Kamande said every member of the team needed to perform in Colombo.

"We need all eleven players to perform, which has not happened in the last two matches, especially against New Zealand," said Kamande, whose team conceded a world record equalling 37 wides against Pakistan and were bowled out for 112.

"We are still in this tournament and what we need is to do well against Sri Lanka which is a very strong team," said Kamande. "Sri Lanka have some good spinners so we have to deal with them, and fight well."

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara urged his team not to panic after slipping to defeat against Pakistan.

"We have Kenya, followed by Australia, so we will look back on the defeat and learn from our mistakes which is very important," said Sangakkara.

"There are a few things we can learn. Bowling a better line and length is important and when we bat partnerships are important and we shouldn’t panic," added the skipper, who scored 49 against Pakistan.

The top four teams from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals and Sangakkara stressed the need to keep improving as the tournament progresses.

"We are just going to keep preparing and keep playing as best we know how. There’s a long way to go in this tournament so we just have got to keep plugging on and make sure that we perform as well as we can," said Sangakkara.

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