New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming cannot wait to play Australia after his side drew level on points with the reigning champions in the second round of the World Cup following a crushing nine-wicket victory against Bangladesh.
Both Australia, bidding for an unprecedented third successive World Cup title, and New Zealand have six points after a pair of Super Eights wins plus the two points they each received for beating their fellow qualifiers during the pool phase.
Australia, who top the standings on run-rate, have looked in ominous form during a run of five wins from five games and have yet to be held to a total under 300 in a match at this tournament.
But in February the Black Caps thrashed Australia 3-0 at home during the Chappell-Hadlee series albeit the visitors were without the rested duo of skipper Ricky Ponting and wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist while top-order batsman Michael Clarke had a hip injury.
All three are back in the team now with Australia determined to prove that a run of five one-day defeats in a row (England beat them 2-0 in Australia during the finals of the CB Series) was no more than a blip.
New Zealand play Australia in Grenada on April 20 and left-handed opener Fleming, who struck 102 not out against Bangladesh, believes recent experience could work in his side’s favour.
“It’s going to take a number of things to stop Australia winning the World Cup. It’s assessing conditions, then playing as well as you can,” he said.
“We’ve done that in the past, and we’re more familiar with them now because we’ve faced them a lot which helps. We’re looking forward to playing them because they are the best,” he remarked.
New Zealand’s latest victory was set up by another disciplined all-round bowling performance which saw Bangladesh bundled out for 174.
“It was a great performance with the ball, not a lot in the pitch so to restrict a team to around 170 was where the game was won,” said Fleming.
Fleming’s hundred against Bangladesh was only the 34 year-old’s eighth in 275 One-day Internationals (ODIs). But he believes his current form is as good as it has ever been.
New Zealand, apart from a brief wobble during their opening group victory against England, have yet to be truly tested at this World Cup but Fleming didn’t believe his side were at a disadvantage.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket.
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