Kenya beat Ireland the last time these two teams met in the 50 over format, a win which secured World Cup qualification for the African side. Simmons however insists that there shouldn’t be too much significance placed on that result: “Yes it’s true we lost that game, but having already qualified, we took the opportunity to rest a few players ahead of the final with Canada. It shouldn’t be forgotten that we won that competition.”
“I think it’s important that we pick up from where we finished that tournament, and more recently the ICC World Twenty20, where we played with a vitality and intensity. That’s what I’m looking for in these games, and that’s the mindset we’ve got to have. We showcased Irish cricket to the world, and the vibrant brand of cricket that we played showed we didn’t look out of place. These games are important as we want to continue to be the top Associate and be number one in all forms of the game.”
Ireland are boosted by the return to their ranks of skipper William Porterfield, who obviously has a point to prove after being left out of Gloucestershire’s Friends Provident semi final line up. “I’m sure Porty will be looking to score a few after not figuring in Gloucester’s team. Let’s hope he takes it out on Kenya with a few big scores. He’s been one of the leading run scorers in the competition, and has looked in great touch all year. He scored heavily for us in South Africa, and is a superb asset to the team.”
Porterfield’s North West colleague Boyd Rankin is also back in Irish colours. The Warwickshire bowler missed the Intercontinental Cup draw with Kenya, but with his extra pace and bounce, he’s sure to cause Kenya problems: “ Boyd will be looking to carry on from where he left off in the T20 where he caused top international players real problems. He hasn’t played many one –day games for Warwickshire this year, but has featured in their four day side.”
Simmons also indicated that Andrew Britton may get a debut later in the Series, rather than in Thursday’s fixture. “We’ll see how the game on Thursday goes, how people and the pitch perform and then see if he can get a run in the team. He’s in the squad now, and he got good reports from Yorkshire, so he’ll get his chance at some stage, and it’s up to him to take it.”
The other addition to the squad is John Mooney, who has been in prolific form in domestic cricket with North County, and was Ireland’s best player in England during the Twenty20 according to Simmons. Jeremy Bray and Andrew Poynter are the two players omitted from the ICup.
The Ireland squad in full is as follows:
William Porterfield (capt) (Gloucestershire), Andre Botha (North County), Andrew Britton (Fox Lodge), Peter Connell (North Down), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), Trent Johnston (Railway Union), Kyle McCallan (Waringstown), John Mooney (North County), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union/Nottinghamshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Paul Stirling (Carrickfergus), Regan West (CSN), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (w/k) (Surrey).
Fixtures and ticket details
Ireland v Kenya ODIs: RSA Challenge Series, Clontarf.
Thursday 9 July, Saturday 11 July, Sunday 12 July.
Ticket Prices: Adult €10 OAP € 5 Child €3 (free if accompanied by an adult)
Family Day Ticket - Family 1 €10 (1 adult and 2 kids)
Family 2 €20 (2 adults and 2 kids)
Tournament Ticket: Adult €20 OAP €10 Child €6
Tickets can be purchased from www.ticketmaster.ie or at the gate. Matches start at 10.45am, gates open at 9.15am.