The race to the 2019 Cricket World Cup will be heating up in East London next weekend as Kenya will be taking on the Netherlands in their World Cricket League (WCL) Championship qualifying matches at Buffalo Park on Friday and Sunday.
The sixth round match was set to be held at the Nairobi Gymkhana club grounds in Nairobi, but was moved due to political uncertainty and security concerns ahead of the October 17 Presidential election re-run.
So in a welcomed surprise for Border cricket, East London will now host the first international match without the Proteas involved since the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
“We have really been bowled over by this great surprise but we are excited as we have been requesting more content for East London,” said Border cricket CEO Thando Booi.
“We only have a few days to plan for such games, but this will assist us in showcasing that we have the ability to host such matches at short notice.”
On the WCL Championship standings Kenya currently find themselves in fifth place, while the Netherlands head the eight-team championship on 16 points followed by Papua New Guinea, who are two points behind in second place after 10 matches played.
The top four teams will join the lowest ranked four from the ICC One-Day International (ODI) championship for the 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifiers, which will decide who will play in the 2019 World Cup in England.
Kenya will thus be desperate to upset the odds against the high-flying Netherlands and will be hoping that despite playing away from home, that Buffalo Park will become a happy hunting ground for them.
The Kenyan team will arrive in East London tomorrow and are expected to play warmup matches at Fort Hare and Police Park against Border Invitational teams.
The Netherlands team will then arrive on Monday.
The One-Day International matches will take centre-stage next week Friday and Sunday at Buffalo Park with Reserve days in place