That being the margin, expressed in Net Run Rate, by which Kenya’s attempt to get into the World T20 World Cup in 2012 fell short. Kenya eventually finished the tournament ranked 9 out of 16 participants and with an overall reccord of 5 wins and 4 losses. Obviously there is more to this failure than one run, or one less ball. That’s what this post is about. First lets look at the batting. Kenya’s batsmen turned out nothing short of a Jekyll and Hyde performance. In the 5 wins the batting looked as solid as any in the tournament. 50s were had by most of the people tasked to deliver them, and in general they did so at the kind of high strike rates that are the heart of T20 cricket. This we shall call the Dr. Jekyll. Doing as expected, conforming to expectations, but ultimately a facade. The Mr. Hyde in this case, and what a gruesome Hyde it was, came out particularly in the defeats to Ireland and Namibia. In these games Kenya were shot out for 77 and 108 respectively. These innings were marked with panic, slow run rates and multiple wickets falling in quick succession. A solid reliable top 6 suddenly had no answers to the questions posed to them by the bowlers. Note that the two teams that managed to draw out this level of panic from Kenya will meet in a playoff to fight for a slot in the T20 World Cup. It seems that the level of cricket the above mentioned two teams are operating marks a threshhold beyond which Kenya’s batsmen simply lose their way. As for the bowling, their failures were far less dramatic than those of their batting counterparts, however they still looked notably out of their depth against the teams who’ve since progressed farther than Kenya in the qualifiers. Can that be helped? Notably both Namibia and Ireland have one thing in common that Kenya doesn’t. A core of players continually exposed to levels of cricket (in South Africa and England) which they have to cope with the pressure of being outskilled on a regular basis. This is something I alluded to in my preview to this tournament. Our boys boys don’t seen to know what to do when their natural gifts don’t give them a significant advantage against their opponents. In my previous post I noted that unlike Kenya’s cricket teams of the past this lot have virtually no exposure to anything better than their buddies at club level. Players whom they are so much better than. This puts Kenya in a Catch 22 situation. In order to get better they must qualify for the big ICC tournaments on a regular basis, but in order to qualify for these big tournaments, they have to find a way past the Irelands and Namibias of this world. In order to do that they have to get better. In the medium term Cricket Kenya’s East Africa Premier League could possibly attract a level of outside talent that will force Kenya’s players to learn how to win even when outgunned. However until then, Cricket Kenya has to find other ways to raise the level of competition Kenya is exposed to or next time the margin won’t be 0.007.