Under strength Ireland lose to Kenya

In the final round of matches in the Super Eights of the CWC qualifiers, an Irish side resting some key individuals has lost to Kenya in Pretoria. Having already sealed a World Cup place and a place in the final, Phil Simmons rested Trent Johnston, Alex Cusack and Boyd Rankin – Eoin Morgan will return home before the final after qualification was assured (presumably to turn out for Middlesex in the County Championship next week) and was left out of the side as well. Skipper Porterfield won (another) toss and batted first but the Irish side never really got going after the early loss of Wilson. Only an assured knock of 59 from Northants’ Niall O’Brien and a late flurry from John Mooney boosted the total to 208. Kenya have been a model of inconsistency throughout the tournament and were not assured of a World Cup place yet. A steady reply saw the required run rate increase as the wily McCallan kept a lid on things with good support from the other bowlers but it was not to be a victorious return to the side for the Belfast teacher. Obuya and Odoyo won the game for the Africans with an undefeated partnership of 113 to seal their CWC 2011 place – the final powerplay decided things with the 50 runs for victory knocked off in only 6 overs.

Canada will play Ireland in the final on Sunday despite their loss to The Netherlands who get a CWC place. Afghanistan amazingly gain ODI status at the expense of a very disappointing Namibia (who were ICC Intercontinental Cup finalists a few short months ago) and Scotland managed to hold on to their ODI status by defeating UAE. Ireland should be back to full strength on Sunday (save for Morgan) and will be odds-on favourites to pick up their first one-day trophy overseas.

Match Summary Ireland 208-9 (50 ov) N O’Brien 59; Tikolo 3-11 Kenya 209-4 (48 ov) Obuya 66*, Odoyo 50*; West 2-40 Kenya win by 6 wickets
I’ve been more than a bit cagey about exactly where CWC 2011 will take place with good reason as it turns out. To no-one’s great surprise Ireland will not be making a trip to Karachi in 2 years time as Pakistan have been stripped of the hosting rights for the tournament due the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore last month and the general security situation there. The usual suspects have protested that the games should still be played in Pakistan. The chairman of the PCB states the obvious “Nobody wants to play in Pakistan following the attack in Lahore.” Rameez Raja (particularly one-eyed when it comes to Pakistan cricket) thinks the Pakistani people won’t be like the decision (whatever that means) – if Pakistan want to continue to play international cricket at home the people will have to accept the fact that touring sides have to feel safe to want to come and play cricket. The bare facts of it are that no-one is safe in Pakistan at the moment and with no prospect of that changing quickly, a prolonged period of isolation or a nomadic existence playing all matches away from home seem like the only options at present. Given this precedent set by the ICC India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will have to be squeaky clean regarding cricketing security or the consequences are clear. Having said that I struggle to believe that the ICC would have the cojones to remove the tournament from India should an incident occur there – one rule for Pakistan, one rule for the BCCI?