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Preview: West Indies and Kenya sit in third and fourth place in Group A of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup respectively. Each are without a point – the former ahead on a superior net run rate (-1.375 compared to Kenya’s -4.120) – and this tie presents both teams with a chance to claim a first win in the tournament.
Having heavily lost their opening encounters against South Africa and New Zealand, Kenya are bidding to get off the foot of the Group A table. South Africa plundered 341 runs against them in the opening match, before New Zealand hit an outrageous 436/4, which fell 44 runs short of the highest-ever team total – held by Australia, who blasted Kenya for 480/6 at the same ground in the 2002 edition of the tournament.
New Zealand opener Jakob Bhula’s 180 off 144 balls did the bulk of the damage, as Kenya used eight bowlers – not one of them went for fewer than 6.50 runs an over. Kenya have only taken seven wickets in the tournament thus far, while both of their innings have failed to yield 200. One positive note from the match against the Kiwis was that five of the six Kenyans who batted made good starts.
Reigning champions West Indies, meanwhile, have also lost both their opening two matches. The Windies have not suffered quite the same comprehensive manner of defeat that Kenya experienced at the hands of New Zealand, but they struggled to compete against South Africa and the Kiwis. However, having taken eight wickets in each of their opening matches, West Indies have taken more the double the amount of scalps Kenya have managed in this tournament.
Players to watch
Aman Gandhi (Ken)
Opener Aman Gandhi’s 63 against New Zealand was a rare bright spark in the game from a Kenyan-perspective, and they'll need him to continue his form this time around. However, you could say the 17-year-old right-handed batsman needed those runs to break even – he gave each of the Kiwis’ top three a reprieve, spilling three catching attempts.
Keagan Simmons (WI)
West Indies openers Keagan Simmons and Kimani Melius scored an unbeaten 92 and 78 runs respectively in the opening fixture, and will be key to getting Windies off to a strong start. Simmons will be looking to up his strike-rate of 69.69 against the Kiwis this time around. They also got their side off to a solid start against South Africa, but failed to kick on.
Head to head
Kenya and West Indies have met once before at the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup, with the Windies claiming a nine-wicket victory in 2002.
World Cup History
If history counts, West Indies will be the favourites. They have amassed 73 appearances between 1988 and 2018, winning 44 of those and losing 29. That’s a win/lose ratio of 1.517. Their highest score with the bat is 402, compared with Kenya’s 236. West Indies won the 2016 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup – their first such title – defeating India in the final in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They were also runners-up at the same venue in 2004.
Between 1998 and 2018, Kenya have played 19 matches at the ICC U19 CWC, winning five and losing 14. They have a win/lose ratio of 0.357.
A fine, hot day, possibly rising to 31 degrees.
Kenya: Sachin Bhudia (c), Maxwel Ager, Abhishekh Chidambaran, Aveet Desai, Jay Doshi, Aman Gandhi, Ankit Hirani, Jasraj Kundi, Jayant Mepani, Gerard Mwendwa, Dennis Musyoka, Thoma Ochieng, Sukhdeep Singh, Siddharth Vasudev, Rene Were
West Indies: Emmanuel Stewart (c), Kirstan Kallicharan, Ronaldo Alimohamed, Alick Athanaze, Cephas Cooper, Jarion Hoyte, Kimani Melius, Ashmead Nedd, Kian Pemberton, Brad Barnes (replaced injured Raymond Perez), Joshua Persaud, Jeavor Royal, Keagan Simmons, Bhaskar Yadram, Nyeem Young
This article first appeared on ICC-Cricket.com, reproduced with permission.