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December 11, 2018

India next in line: Kenyans take on fancied rivals in last ICC World Cup build-up encounter

Kenya U20 player Thomas Ojijo pulls in the qualifying match in Nairobi 
/oliver morgan
Kenya U20 player Thomas Ojijo pulls in the qualifying match in Nairobi /oliver morgan

Unbeaten in most of their recent matches, India U19 team will look to continue with their impressive run when they take on Kenya today in their second official warm-up match ahead of the 2018 U19 ICC World Cup in Christchurch, New Zealand.

India have been in red-hot form with convincing wins including a 138-run win over immediate former champions South Africa on Tuesday.

Kenya lost their first warm-up match by eight wickets to Canada and will be looking to bounce back and gain confidence ahead of the global showpiece which starts tomorrow.

Most of the Indian top players, led by national team skipper Virat Kohli, have come through the India U19 set-up and those picked for this tournament will be seeking to follow in the footsteps of their idols.

The expectations from the cricket crazy India cannot allow the players, led by captain Prithvi Shaw, to falter and expect them to get into the matches guns blazing. Prithvi has already being hailed as the future star of Indian batting.

Following the footsteps of Sachin Tendulkar, Prithvi came into prominence after scoring 546 runs from 330 balls for his school team in a Harris Shield match, breaking a more than 100-year old record.

After Tendulkar, he is the second youngest batsman to score a century in the Ranji Trophy. He has already scored five centuries in his short first-class career.

However, Kenyan coach, Jimmy Kamande, says his charges will be looking to play a positive, aggressive brand of cricket when they take on the favourites

A win over the three time champions would be huge confidence boost for the side which is aiming to surpass expectations by being the top associate in the tournament.

We want to be positive and express ourselves,” the former national team skipper said. “We’ll be using the game to try and finalise our best XI and our game plan. We know it’s just a warm-up game, but we’re going to try our best and treat it very seriously.”

Other players in the Indian team that are expected to play a key role in the match include batsmen Shubman Gill, Shivan Mavi and Himanshu Rana and bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti.

Kenya skipper Sachin Bhudia said they would be aiming to pick up positives from playing India and will not just sit back.

“Even though it’s a warm-up game, we want to try and give it our best,” he said. “There’s not as much emphasis on the result, but it would be nice to win the match.”

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