Say it with me slowly Rush-a-bhvar-dhan Nipun Patel. Quite the mouthful eh? The young left-hander (Rushab Patel for short) was also a handful for the Papua New Guinea bowlers, as he struck 95 runs in his International debut 50 overs debut. A knock that long term fans might say had shades of Hitesh Modi in his pomp.
Unfortunately for Kenya his efforts came in a losing cause as Kenya slumped to a 2-0 loss to Papua New Guinea, in Port Moresby. Even more unfortunate was the way Kenya lost its last 5 wickets for 13 runs in a match that Kenya had put themselves in a relatively good position to win.
The final result, a 21 run win for Papua New Guinea, to go with a six wicket win in the first match, in which Irfan Karim’s 73 was a lone bright sport in Kenya’s brittle batting.
Even during the warm up matches against Northern Territory of Australia, Kenya’s batsmen struggled to put together multiple meaningful partnerships, and that came back to haunt them in the WCLC matches.
Kenya now sit in 5th place, 4 points adrift of Holland in the World Cricket League Championship Table, with the league approaching its half way stage.
Kenya next play Hong Kong (with the venue yet to be decided) in November of this year. Though nominally home games for Kenya, the security issues Kenya faces mean that they may have to play their games in a neutral venue.
Given that Hong Kong sit in second place, and therefore hold the second of two qualifying slots for the qualifying tournament of the 2019 World Cup in England, winning these matches will go a long way to keeping Kenya’s world cup qualifying hopes alive.