Kenya National Cricket Team - History - 2003 World Cup and Decline

2003 World Cup and Decline

The 2003 Cricket World Cup was to be Kenya's finest moment in international cricket to date. The tournament was to be held in South Africa, with Kenya hosting their two matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. The tournament started with a defeat to South Africa, but Kenya bounced back with a four wicket win over Canada in Cape Town. New Zealand forfeited their match against Kenya in Nairobi due to safety concerns, but Sri Lanka did visit Nairobi and lost by 53 runs. The tournament continued, back in South Africa, with a win over Bangladesh and a defeat to the West Indies. Kenya had done enough to qualify for the Super Six stage, becoming the first non-test nation to progress beyond the first round of the World Cup. In the Super Six stage, they lost to India and Australia, but beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets, qualifying for the semi-final, where they lost to India by 91 runs.

Kenya's World Cup success was rewarded with a spot in a quadrangular tournament at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, but they lost all three of their games.

Kenya's failure in the above tournament is perhaps indicative of how they failed to capitalise on their World Cup success, though it must be said that not all of that failure was on the field. Although Kenya were given plenty of matches against national A sides, and played in the Carib Beer Cup in the West Indies in 2004, Kenya only played two ODIs in the three years after the Sharjah tournament, against India and Pakistan in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy.

Off-field setbacks also occurred. Maurice Odumbe was banned for match-fixing in August 2004, and a series of strikes by players led to a weakened Kenyan side being eliminated from the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup at the semi-final stage by Scotland. By the end of the dispute in 2005, Kenyan cricket had no sponsors and was in virtual international isolation. At that stage the governing body had dissolved internally and Kenyan cricket opportunities were limited and international cricket for them had virtually ceased.

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