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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


England and Kenya struggle to concentrate

Mark Meadows | March 24, 2007 13:18 IST

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England battle Kenya for a place in the Super Eights on Saturday with both sides hoping their troops can remain focused after the tragic news that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer had been murdered.

England captain Michael Vaughan is well aware that Kenya, surprise semi-finalists in 2003, pose a credible threat to his side's chances of qualifying for the second round and any loss of concentration could be crucial in the final Group C match.

"It's very difficult to talk about the game of cricket when an incident like this has taken place but that's what we must do," he told reporters.

"(Cricket) has taken a big hit. It's been a very strange week but we have to try to get the preparation right for tomorrow's game. We realise Kenya are a very good team and can cause a huge shock on their day."

Kenya waltzed past Canada in their opening group match with captain Steve Tikolo in inspirational form with bat and ball.

A tame defeat to New Zealand followed but Tikolo is confident his side can pack England off home and make the Super Eights.

"Our chances are good if we do the basics right," said the 35-year-old mainstay of four World Cups.

Kenya's impressive spin attack of Jimmy Kamande and Hiren Varaiya may cause England problems although Vaughan's side will be greatly improved by the return of Andrew Flntoff.

The all-rounder was stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned from Sunday's win over Canada after a late night drinking binge.

The 29-year-old will be desperate to make his mark for the right reasons, with England badly missing his penetrative bowling in the laboured 51-run win over Canada.

His destructive batting has been less consistent of late though and he made a first ball duck in the opening defeat by New Zealand last Friday.

Ravi Bopara is likely to make way for Flintoff with the rest of the England lineup expected to be the same, meaning James Anderson and Liam Plunkett will continue as the front-line seamers despite mixed displays so far.

If the game is a washout on Saturday and Sunday's reserve day then England will go through because of their better net run rate.

Teams (probable):

England - Michael Vaughan (captain), Ed Joyce, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Jamie Dalrymple, Paul Nixon, Liam Plunkett, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.

Kenya - Maurice Ouma, David Obuya, Ravi Shah, Steve Tikolo (captain), Tanmay Mishra, Collins Obuya, Thomas Odoyo, Jimmy Kamande, Lameck Onyango, Peter Ongondo, Hiren Varaiya.


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