ICL: Indian Cricket League

England hit by injuries, Bond and Franklin ready for New Zealand recall


New Zealand are set to recall fast bowlers Shane Bond and James Franklin for Tuesday’s (today’s) crucial tri-series one-day match against England.

The pair missed Sunday’s clash with Australia at the WACA in Perth to conserve their energy for Tuesday, knowing another New Zealand victory will almost certainly end England’s chance of making the playoffs.

New Zealand thrashed England by 90 runs in Adelaide last week to earn a valuable bonus point that could prove decisive in the battle to see which team joins Australia in the best-of-three final.

Although New Zealand lost to Australia on Sunday, their brave run-chase has them brimming with confidence ahead of the match with England. The Kiwis looked to have no hope of winning when Australia piled on 343-5 on a scorching hot day at the WACA in Perth but got within eight runs after replying with 335-5.

Jacob Oram played the starring role, scoring an unbeaten century off 71 balls, the fastest hundred ever made by a New Zealander in a One-day International (ODI). The big all-rounder also bowled five overs in the searing heat but has recovered well and is hoping to continue his form against the English at the same ground on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, England could be without three key players for today’s match. Fast bowlers James Anderson and Jon Lewis will both miss the tri-series game because of niggling injuries while captain Michael Vaughan remains a doubt with a hamstring problem.

England’s stand-in skipper Andrew Flintoff said a final decision on Vaughan would not be made until the day of the match but the signs were not encouraging. “Vaughan is doubtful, there is a doubt surrounding his fitness,” Flintoff told a news conference on Monday. “I think the final decision will be made on Tuesday, see how he rocks up. He’s done some running out there today but I think a final decision will be made in the morning,” he added.

The absence of all three players would be a massive blow to England’s chances of beating a New Zealand team that is brimming with confidence after suddenly finding their form. Another defeat against New Zealand would leave England needing to win their last two matches, one each against Australia and the Kiwis, just to make the playoffs and salvage something from a disastrous tour.

“I think the one thing now is we can’t dance around it, we have got to be honest with ourselves,” Flintoff said. “We have just got to stand up. I could sit here and tell you all types of different things — but we have got to score some runs,” he added.

The English have been heavily criticised over their performances on tour but Vaughan said the players were desperate to make amends. “When you are getting beat up most days for the whole of the tour, it has to have some kind of effect,” Vaughan said. “I am feeling a group of players who really want to put it right, and I haven’t heard any of them talking about the plane home or what they are going to do in February,” he added.

Source:The News

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