NAIROBI, Kenya, April 17 – Kenya qualified for the 2011 International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup after a nervy six wicket victory over Ireland on Friday in Pretoria.
Collins Obuya showed superb form with the bat with an unbeaten 66 which ensured Kenya a spot in cricket’s showpiece tournament that now will only be held in India and Sri Lanka after Pakistan pulled out on Friday due to security concerns.
Andy Kirsten’s charges needed nothing short of victory against the Emerald Isle to secure a spot in their fifth successive World Cup.
Ireland who won the toss and decided to bat first set Kenya a target of 209 that was spearheaded by Niall O’Brien who top scored with 59 runs before he fell to Kenya captain Steve Tikolo.
Kenya’s batting got off to another wobbly start as openers Maurice Ouma (9) and Alex Obanda (11) were dismissed in the sixth and thirteenth overs respectively.
Tikolo who has had tournament to forget as far as his usual reliable batting is concerned scored 25 off 42 balls before he was dispatched from the crease by Regan West who also got rid of Kennedy Otieno (31).
Another veteran Thomas Odoyo came on for the skipper to forge the crucial 113 run partnership with player of the match Obuya that helped the 2003 semi finalists clinch that valuable world cup berth.
Nehemiah Odhiambo was in belligerent mood with the ball which included running out Kevin O’Brien (22) and the scalps of Ireland skipper William Potterfield and John Mooney.
Gary Wilson and Andrew pointer were clean bowled by Odoyo and Peter Ongondo respectively further compounding the laboured Irish batting.
In addition to Ireland who are already qualified for the world cup before this match, Kenya will be joined by Netherlands and Canada in the World Cup.