Kamande rallies his troops


COLOMBO, February 27– At the back of two heavy defeats to New Zealand and Pakistan, Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande has called his team to arms ahead of their must win match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

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 were shot out for 69 against the Black Caps in Chennai in their opening match.

"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, who rued missed chances against Pakistan during a crushing 205-run defeat.

"There have been good situations but we spoiled them and it showed a lack of experience," said Kamande. "Four of Pakistan’s batsmen got half-centuries, and one New Zealand bowler destroyed us, so we need not committing the same mistakes.

"Sri Lanka have some good spinners so we have to deal with them, and fight well."

Sri Lanka lost to Kenya at the 2003 World Cup, when the African side went on to reach the semi-finals, but that is their only defeat in five clashes between the two nations.

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

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara has urged his team not to panic after slipping to defeat against Pakistan, as he looks to get their World Cup campaign back on track with victory over Kenya.

"We have Kenya next, 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.

Sri Lanka, who beat Canada in their opener by a huge 210-run margin, restricted Pakistan to 277-7 after their opponents looked set for a 300-plus total but wasted a good start when they batted, losing wickets at regular intervals.

Sangakkara said spearhead Lasith Malinga — who has missed both matches due to a back strain — was making good progress.

 "We can say we missed Lasith a bit but… we restricted them (Pakistan) to a gettable total, so in the next games we need to make sure we don’t lose a cluster of wickets," said Sangakkara.