CricInfo at World Cup 1999
[The ICC Cricket World Cup - England 1999]

England v Kenya Preview, 18 May 1999

by John Houlihan

Why you should watch: This should be a rollicking win for England, but there's always the chance of a shock defeat which would rock the foundations of their World Cup campaign.

England against Kenya at Canterbury has the potential to be an fascinating match as both teams line up for the first ever encounter in a World Cup competition.

After a convincing eight wicket win over Sri Lanka at Lord's on Friday, England will be looking to steamroller the minnows of Group A and consolidate their solid start to the tournament. Perhaps the most intriguing question though is whether they will continue to experiment with makeshift opener Nasser Hussain, who can't really have been said to have proved his case at Lord's, or revert to the tried and tested, but out-of-form, Nick Knight. With both Alec Stewart and Graeme Hick already amongst the runs against Sri Lanka, there was little opportunity for England's middle-order to shine, so they will looking to spend some time in the middle. Unless the pitch shows signs of being a raging turner, which is fairly unlikely, England will probably field an unchanged seam attack to take the battle to the Kenyans and the in-form Alan Mullally will be looking to add to his impressive opening haul of four wickets. Yorkshire's Darren Gough bowled well against the Sri Lankans but didn't perhaps quite get the return he deserved and he will be looking to terrify the Kenyan batsman and reinforce his reputation as England's premier strike bowler.

Despite an opening defeat against Zimbabwe at Taunton, Kenya will draw inspiration from memories of their finest hour during the last World Cup when they pulled off an astonishing 73 run win against the West Indies in Pune. Talented stroke-maker Ravindu Shah scored a decent 37 on Saturday while middle-order Batsman Alpesh Vaher notched Kenya's first half-century of the tournament and looked in good form, but the rest of the top order will really need to contribute if they are to threaten England. In the bowling department, young tyro Thomas Odoyo who was the youngest player to play in the 1996 tournament is one of Kenya's brightest prospects and has already made his mark, while vice-captain and all-rounder Maurice Odombe's off-breaks earned him two wickets against Zimbabwe and this pair appear to be Kenya's form bowlers at the moment.

England player to watch: Darren Gough

Kenyan player to watch: Asif Karim

Listen on the stump mic for: The sound of Kenyan wickets tumbling

Neutrals may care to enjoy: Alan Mullally's nippy left armers, Steve Tikolo's aggressive stroke play

Schadenfreude potential: If England fall flat on their faces against the ICC qualifiers, do expect the Spanish inquisition

Old lags: Alec Stewart (36), Asif Kareem (35)

Young pups: Andrew Flintoff (21), Mohammed Skiekh (18)

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