Friday, March 17, 2006

Game On!

Bangladesh is waking up, and in a few hours all the talk will be over and Steve Tikolo's boys will be striding onto the pitch do do battle with Kenya's main rivals. Hopefully, the Kenyan team have had a good night's sleep and are in top form for the task ahead.
Realistically, what can kenya expect today? We must remember that Bangladesh are not the team we are used to beating almost every time we take the park against them. They have improved out of sight, while we have stagnated over the past couple of years. Kenya's talent is however still there, and the recent tour of Zimbabwe should have reminded the experienced players what is expected of them. For the youngsters, it will be a learning experience, but also a wonderful opportunity to cement a long term place in the side.
Bangladesh are going to come out all guns firing. Their fans demand it, their coach demands it, and the World expects it. For them, anything less than a comprehensive win will be a failure today. Some of this may play into Kenya's hands. If the young Bangladesh players have been listening to public opinion, they will believe that the match will be easily won. Overconfidence has brough them unstuck before, and they would be unwise to underestimate both the quality and fighting spirit of their opponents. Bangladesh may have a point to prove, but so do Kenya. We are tired of being labelled the side that makes up the numbers. We got to the World Cup semi finals, and people said it was luck. We have beaten several Test nations, and each time there have been people who repeat that it is luck. Well, it is often said that you make your own luck, and Kenya will certainly be aiming to do this today.
In terms of the key battles in this match, here are my views on the players who will make a difference today:
Steve Tikolo - whatever else is said, it is clear that Bangladesh both fear and respect Tikolo. If he can get on top of them and prey on this, they will have to dig deep to overcome his presence.
Shahadat Hossain - he is fast, and may give some of the Kenyan batsmen a hurry up. If we can get his measure, we go a long way to neutralising the Bangladesh attack.
Kennedy Otieno - A lot of people forget he has more ODI centuries than his captain, and he has done it before against Bangladesh too. If he can translate his form from Zimbabwe onto the better Bangladesh pitch, he could prove crucial to a big score.
Mohammed Asraful - Bangladesh's most dangerous batsman. If we can knock him over cheaply, it will be a huge boost for us, and a major blow to Bangladesh confidence.
Thomas Odoyo - Will be called upon to perform with both bat and ball. If he plays well, he will be a major handful for the Tigers.
Aftab Ahmed - Another Bowler Kenya need to get on top of; he has taken 5 wickets in an innings before. Also a useful batsman who can score runs quickly.
Finally, I do not want to put pressure on him or jinx him, but I believe that this series will see Tanmay Mishra really come of age for Kenya. I think he will come as quite a surprise to Bangladesh.
Enough talk. Bring on the cricket!


Anonymous said...

Mashrafee is certainly a player you overlooked. He has a nickname 'Pagla' meaning crazy. And you know now why after his 16 ball 44.

Even though he did not get wicket, he is still the best bowler of bangladesh, and that is one person kenyans really need to look for.

cricmate said...

yeah, how could he forget Mortaza??

Anonymous said...

You also didn't mention aftab. I think he will come of age for bangladesh in this series after being dropped from the test team against SL as a punishment for not giving proper vaule to his wicket. HE scored 80+ in england and in the 1st ODI i think he scored some thing around 60+ in so many balls. I think he will be the next century maker for BD if not one the openers does it before hime...