Sri Lanka seek revenge of 2003 upset against Kenya
Colombo: Sri Lanka would look to bounce back after their morale-sapping loss in the last match and avenge their 2003 edition defeat at the hands of Kenya when they take on the African associate nation in their World Cup Group A match here on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka, tipped as one of the title contenders, lost to Pakistan by 11 runs on Saturday and they would look to lift their morale with a big win against Kenya at R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.
They have also got the boost ahead of Tuesday`s match with fast bowler Lasith Malinga available for selection for after sitting out of Sri Lanka`s last two matches due to a sore back.
Sri Lanka ill-afford to take their tomorrow`s opponents lightly though Kenya had suffered heavy defeats at the hands of New Zealand and Pakistan in their last two matches and facing internal division with differences between their coach Eldine Baptiste and senior players.
Against the Kiwis, Kenya were bowled out for 69 runs, their lowest total in ODI cricket, and then Pakistan thrashed them by 205 runs at Hambantota.
But the last time Sri Lanka and Kenya met in a World Cup encounter was in 2003 and the Africans had stunned the 1996 champions on that occasion with an upset win in Nairobi.
Understandably, Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss warned his players not to be complacent
"The fact that we did not win our last game will stop any complacency. Our guys are consciously aware of playing good cricket and we certainly will not take them lightly," Bayliss said.
He said Malinga was able to bowl full steam at the nets today and he would be available for selection.
"Lasith bent over to pick up a cricket ball about two weeks ago and strained his back a little. The physio said that the first two weeks were the most important after his injury as the most likelihood of him re-injuring was that period. He bowled in the last two practice sessions. He has bowled with a full run-up today and batted and fielded. We have a selection meeting in the evening and will decide what to do then," Baylisss said.
Kenya, on the other hand, are facing trouble ahead of their all-important match with reports of differences between players and coach emerging.
Cricket Kenya chief Samir Inamdar on Sunday blamed differences between the players and West Indian coach Eldine Baptiste for their lacklustre performances so far.
Kenyan captain Jimmy Kamande, however, dismissed suggestions that there was disunity within the squad and promised a better performance on Tuesday.
"I also read those reports. I have not spoken to the chairman, but I can tell you that my team is very solid. When a team loses people try to find excuses. The thing is we have not performed and we want to play well," Kamande said at the pre-match press conference.
"Obviously Sri Lanka are a solid side. But we have nothing to lose. They are the ones who are under pressure to perform. Having lost to Pakistan, this makes a must win game for them and we will try and put pressure on them," Kamande
The Teams (From): Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (captain and wicketkeeper),
Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath.
Kenya: Jimmy Kamande (captain), Tanmay Mishra, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya, David Obuya (wicketkeeper), Nehemiah Odhiambo, Thomas Odoyo, Peter Ongondo, Elijah Otieno, Maurice Ouma, Rakep Patel, Steve
Tikolo and Seren Waters.
Umpires: Tony Hill (New Zealand) and Shahvir Tarapore (India). Third Umpire: Ian Gould. Match Referee: Chris Broad. Match starts at 1430 hours IST.