|Friday, 14 March 2003|
Kenya semi-final success stuns Sri Lanka
EAST LONDON, South Africa, Thursday (Reuters) - Kenya's success in beating Zimbabwe to reach the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday left Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore and his squad stunned.
Kenya's seven-wicket win at Bloemfontein guaranteed the East Africans a place in the last four while 1996 champions Sri Lanka now need New Zealand to lose their final game to have a chance of staying in the tournament.
"I'm really low right now - very, very down," Whatmore told Reuters.
"I've just watched the end of the game here and all credit to Kenya. They deserve it. Their leg-spinner Collins Obuya really looks as though he's turned the corner.
"The only player I've spoken to is (captain) Sanath (Jayasuriya). He's really down about the whole thing too."
New Zealand can clinch the final semi-final berth by beating India, who have already qualified with Australia and Kenya, at Centurion on Friday.
If India win, Sri Lanka can sneak through by winning their final Super Six game against Zimbabwe in East London on Saturday.
Whatmore said the Sri Lankans would be keeping an eye on events at Centurion and hoped India would be inspired by a 5-2 one-day series defeat in New Zealand just before the World Cup.
"I'm sure India will be keen to prove a point," he said.
"We'll certainly be watching the game very closely but there's not much we can do about it. It's out of our hands."
Several members of the Sri Lankan squad had a light workout at the gym on Wednesday with physiotherapist Alex Kountouri, while batsman Mahela Jayawardene took a clean break from his poor run of form by playing golf with Whatmore at the East London Golf Club.
Kiwi coach Denis Aberhart said Kenya, who were helped into the Super Sixes after New Zealand forfeited their match in Nairobi over security concerns, deserved their success as well as their good luck. "Well done to Kenya. They have played some good cricket and they have had some fortunate times as well," he said as his side prepared at Centurion.
Asked to put Kenya's success in context after West Indies went out in the first round despite beating the Kenyans by 142 runs, Aberhart added: "That is the nature of the competition. Perhaps that may be good for cricket.
"We have someone else on the world stage spreading the gospel. It's true some other good teams are not there but I wouldn't downgrade Kenya at all."
Produced by Lake House