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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report

Australia wants to avoid Kiwis in the semis

March 09, 2003 18:23 IST

Having secured its semifinal spot, defending champion Australia is determined to weed out title-contenders from its path in its relentless pursuit of another World Cup victory.

New Zealand is its next target.

Following a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the Super Six, New Zealand will face an unbeaten Australia on March 11 and then India on Friday at the Centurion.

One win from its next two matches will allow New Zealand to finish fourth, and possibly book a semifinal play-off against table-topping Australians, back at Port Elizabeth.

That's what the Australians want to avoid.

Australia played badly against England in a Group A match here and won, and Ricky Ponting's side is aware the danger its Trans-Tasman neighbour poses to its title aspirations.

The pitch at St. George's Park would suit the Kiwi medium paceman more than the Australian pace attack, and Ponting's  men might not be as lucky as they were against England.

Also, a win over New Zealand on Tuesday will allow the Australians to equal a record nine consecutive World Cup wins  by Clive Lloyd's side between 1975 and 1979.

Ponting's side already holds the record for the most  consecutive wins in all limited-overs competition - 13 games.

It is also unbeaten in 14 consecutive World Cup matches, although that includes the tied semifinal against South Africa in 1999.

Vice-captain Adam Gilchrist said avoiding New Zealand has been discussed at length.

"I'm sure those conditions will suit their type of bowling," Gilchrist acknowledged.

"That comes into play later on for the semis. There's no hiding there are certain teams in the wash-up at the moment you'd prefer to play, given their records."        

Gilchrist was thinking of possibly playing either Kenya or Sri Lanka in the semifinal.

It looks in all probability that India will finish second in the Super Six, thus avoiding a semifinal clash against Australia.

Australia hammered Sourav Ganguly's side by nine wickets when the two met at Centurion early in Group A, but the Indians haven't lost since.

"That's part of it now. You've got to realise that," Gilchrist said. "We want to finish top of the whole thing, but even that's not a major issue. It's more monitoring how we're going."

Gilchrist said ousting title-contenders early had been  part of Australia's master plan to retain the title.

"That was mentioned before we played England. It was our first chance to send someone home.

"With a team like England or New Zealand or South Africa -- who we didn't even get a chance to play -- the chance to send those teams out means there's one less team who are genuine contenders," Gilchrist said.


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Number of User Comments: 6

Sub: May be they will lose to NZ in S6

Obviously, if Aus lose to Kenya, that would be nothing short of an enquiry into matchfixing type stuff, but considreing that India will now be ...

Posted by Murali

Sub: Tiger scaring of Ants

What a big.. shame full for AUS, they are the champians..., they won all the matches, wantdly they are llosing NZ. India will smash both ...

Posted by aruntaman

Sub: Aus vs. Kenya

If Aussies loose their S6 against Kenya then one of India/Sl/Kiwi's are out. Maybe this is what they are really hinting at.

Posted by Reetesh

Sub: Australia's Strategy

It is fine to express yourself during Press Meets saying "we will beat any team any day" etc but to state that we would like ...

Posted by C.N.Sankaran

Sub: Crappy it is!!!!!!

What i personally feel is that Australia will have no intentions of chucking out the Kiwis. They wont think in such a relentless direction. Rather ...

Posted by Ram


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