COLOMBO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka have the chance to make a swift comeback from their dispiriting defeat by Pakistan with surely easy pickings against Kenya in a World Cup Group A match on Tuesday.
The co-hosts may have their troubles after losing to Pakistan on Saturday by 11 runs, a match they were widely tipped beforehand to win but nothing compared to the east Africans.
Not only have they crashed to 10-wicket and 205-run defeats to New Zealand and Pakistan respectively, but Cricket Kenya chief Samir Inamdar suggested that coach Eldine Baptiste had fallen out with his senior players.
Inamdar told Reuters that Baptiste had his own way of doing things which has not “gone down well” with some of the senior players.
Baptiste, meanwhile, has asked the players to go back to basics after their 205-run thrashing by Pakistan.
“We were not up to the mark in all three departments and in cricket whatever you do you have to stick to the basics, and when you play any international side you don’t spurn your good starts,” said Baptiste.
“It’s about being persistent and at the moment we are just not doing that.”
Of the four associate member teams participating in the World Cup, Kenya have been shown to be the weakest having being shot out for 69 in their opening game against New Zealand.
Sri Lanka have so far badly missed the services of fast bowler Lasith Malinga who is expected to play his first World Cup match to get some kind of rhythm against Australia on Saturday. He should cash in with some easy wickets.
“Lasith is improving. I think he is going to be back with us very shortly. We just didn’t want to risk him over this match,” Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said after the Pakistan game.
Sri Lanka have one win over minnows Canada and another over Kenya will lift spirits again and give them a loosener at least for Saturday’s match against holders and four-time winners Australia which should be another humdinger.
Kenya are the only associate side of this World Cup which have a win over Sri Lanka. That victory was achieved in the 2003 World Cup but since then Kenyan cricket has been on the slide as is all too evident here.
(Editing by Jon Bramley
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