ODI World Cup Stat-Box: Pakistan V Kenya
Colombo: Facts and figures relating to the Group A World Cup match between Pakistan and Kenya at Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.
Pakistan lead 5-0
The two teams have never played in the sub-continent or in the World Cups
Although Pakistan have won each time they have played, it has more often been the Kenyan batting that has let them down. Their highest score against Pakistan in the five innings they have had is 179, and the last time they met, Kenya were shot out for a paltry 94.
Pakistan cricket has seen some trying times since their successful World Cup campaign in 1992, but none so more acute than the current period. Unable to play at home, tainted by spot fixing and other scandals, confusion over team and captaincy selections, and recent performances (LWWWL) where they have lost more (10) than they have won (eight) in the last 12 months, could possibly distract them from the job at hand. Their performances against New Zealand and the convincing win over Bangladesh in the warm-up would help them although they did lose their last warm-up to England, capitulating to another five-wicket haul from Stuart Broad. However, with Pakistan, one never knows and they tend to come up with their best performance when least expected.
Kenya will be smarting from their loss in the opening match against New Zealand in somewhat humiliating circumstances where the entire match lasted just over 30 overs. Their recent form (LWLWL) and their morale will be severely tested by Pakistan, especially the bowling attack, if Kenya end up batting first.
Hambantota has hosted only one match where the hosts, Sri Lanka, crushed Canada and one cannot look too much into how the pitch played either batting first or under the lights. However, given the history between Pakistan and Kenya, the team winning the toss may elect to field and try to expose the relative batting frailties of either side.
Misbah-ul-Haq is the man in form for Pakistan with a couple of fifties against New Zealand and a century in the warm-up match against Bangladesh. He has donned the role of the finisher for Pakistan for a few years now, but if Pakistan were to chase, then it would be worrying for them if he did get a chance to finish.
It is a reflection of the unfulfilled promise of the team when the grand old man of Kenyan cricket, the 39-year-old Steve Tikolo, is still the player around whom the batting and bowling tends to revolve. There have not been enough youngsters to challenge or ease his role in the team and, despite the poor showing against New Zealand, Tikolo has had good form in the warm-up games.