Kenya loses host rights for cricket qualifier to South Africa

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Nairobi, Sep 22 (IANS) Political uncertainty in Kenya has forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to reschedule the World Cricket League Championship qualifying match between leaders Netherlands and Kenya to South Africa.

Nairobi was to host the sixth round match from Oct. 6-8 but with repeat presidential elections still standing in the way, the global cricket body cannot risk sending foreign players to Kenya for security reasons. Now the match will be staged in East London in South Africa on the same dates, reports Xinhua news agency.

Kenya, which held its general elections on Aug. 8, had the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land annulled the Presidential Poll results and a new date has been set for Oct. 26. There is tension in the country and ICC is not ready to gamble with the safety of its players.

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“The Netherlands Cricket Board seems to have raised the issue with the International Cricket Council (ICC), which have informed us that the game will now be played at the Buffalo Park cricket stadium in East London in South Africa,” Cricket Kenya said in a statement.

It is the second WCL Championship match Kenya is being forced to play away from home. The country is currently placed fifth in the standings.

“The decision to play the game in the colder climate of East London may not favor our team which is playing the catch-up to finish among the top four in the championship,” said Cricket Kenya.

The Netherlands head the eight-team championship with 16 points followed by Papua New Guinea, which are two points behind in second place from 10 matches played. Scotland are third on 13 points with Hong Kong in fourth with 11.

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The top four teams will join the lowest ranked four from ICC One Day International (ODI) championships for the 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifiers, which will decide who plays in the 2019 World Cup in England.



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