Johannesburg: The ICC rejected New Zealand’s request to switch their World Cup Group B match against Kenya and awarded the points to the home team on Thursday.
The ICC executive board refused to reschedule Friday’s game from Nairobi to South Africa, ruling that the venue was safe despite New Zealand’s security concerns.
It added that four points have been awarded to Kenya because “New Zealand has decided not to travel to Kenya or apply to the event technical committee”.
“I am happy that the matter is now resolved and that the World Cup can move forward,” ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said.
“At the same time, we have already seen some fantastic matches in this tournament and I am disappointed that this match will not be taking place.”
An ICC spokesman said: “Today’s decision is the final word on the matter. NZC had representation at today’s meeting and said they would not be applying to the technical committee.”
New Zealand’s fears were fuelled by a bombing in Mombasa in November which killed 16 people, but their request to move the match to an alternative venue was opposed by the Kenya Cricket Association (KCA).
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has already warned it could appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Lausanne, and is well aware that the match forfeit could prevent its team from progressing to the Super Six stage of the tournament.
Sri Lanka top the Group B standings with 12 points, while New Zealand are joint second with Kenya on eight, having won two of their first three games.
New Zealand can now only hope for a maximum of 16 points by the end of the group phase, leaving them open to being passed by West Indies or South Africa.
The ICC executive board, which considered NZC’s request in a teleconference, comprised ICC president Malcolm Gray, ICC vice-president Ehsan Mani, the presidents of the 10 full-member nations and three representatives of associate member countries.
The application was heard by the executive board because NZC’s original advice that it would not play in Kenya was made before the start of the tournament and before the event’s technical committee came into being.
NZC reconfirmed its request to the ICC for the match to be moved on Saturday, the same day England were forced to forfeit a Group A game against Zimbabwe after tournament officials rejected their security concerns over playing in Harare.
‘An insult to Kenya’
Sharad Ghai, chairman of World Cup organising committee in Kenya said the Kenyans would have preferred winning the points playing the game. “We are happy for the points, but we would have liked to play,” Ghai said.
He felt the reasons given by New Zealand not to play in Kenya were “totally unjustified and was an insult to this country and its people”.
“We have many members of international media in Nairobi at the moment, who are quite happy. Most of them have told us in confidence that they don’t understand why New Zealand stayed away.”
Kenya Cricket Association put at $70,000 the cost of upgrading Nairobi Gymkhana Club and providing security and accommodation for the New Zealand and Sri Lanka players.
He said Kenya, a non-Test playing nation, had requested a grant from the ICC, but the money has not been forthcoming.
“We have been told that since New Zealand are not coming, the amount may be reduced to $28,000, which is not enough,” Ghai noted. “We do not want to be left to settle a huge bill over a period of 20 years.”