On this day in 2003: Kenya create history by qualifying for World Cup semi-final

When ICC decided that the 2019 edition of the ODI World cup would have only 10 teams, there were many former cricketers who criticized the apex body. They emphasised that this decision was against the idea of expanding the game across multiple countries.  Over the years we have seen many upsets in the World Cup when non-Test playing nations have surprised everyone with their performance.

So, it was disappointing to not see lower-ranked teams compete in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, which will continue in the next edition as well. Among some of the most memorable performances by teams in the ODI World Cup is of Kenya when they displayed terrific skills in 2003.

Kenya’s journey to semis

They won four out of their six matches in Pool B (one of these was awarded to Kenya since New Zealand refused to tour them) and advanced to Super Sixes by virtue of this performance. And then they made history on this day i.e. 12th March back in 2003 by qualifying for the semi-finals as they beat Zimbabwe in the crucial Super Sixes encounter. This was for the first time that a non-Test playing nation had gone into the semi-finals of a World Cup.

In the match, Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak won the toss and decided to bat early on. The team had a terrible game with the bat as they were reeling on 97/7 and eventually got dismissed for just 133 runs. Andy Flower who came to bat at number 3 was the lone warrior for them as he played 101-ball knock scoring 63 runs with the help of 5 fours. For Kenya, Collins Obuya and Martin Suji took three wickets each.

Chasing this total, Kenya had an early scare as they lost their first three wickets for 62 runs. However, Thomas Odoyo and Maurice Odumbe stitched an unbeaten partnership of 73 runs to lead the team to a famous 7-wicket victory. Kenya chased down the total in only 26 overs and ensured their place in the semi-finals.

However, they were knocked out by the Indian side in the semi-final match as they lost by 91 runs. Their overall performance in the tournament was praiseworthy and they deserved every bit of appreciation for that.