The Web


World Cup 2003
Match Reports
Graphical Analysis
WC Format
Fantasy Cricket
Discussion Groups

Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > PTI > Report

Ganguly keen to settle scores with Kiwis

March 11, 2003 14:07 IST

Skipper Sourav Ganguly is restless and raring to settle a bitter score with Stephen Fleming and his men when India take on New Zealand in a grudge match of the World Cup Super Sixes on Friday.

"I am looking forward to the game. I have been waiting for this match for quite some time now," said Ganguly, pumped-up by India's stupendous 183-win against Sri Lanka in their second Super Six match on Monday.

"There are a few points to prove," Ganguly said, making his intentions clear that the team is keen to avenge the defeats on the New Zealand tour in December-January.

Skipper Fleming was at the forefront in plotting India's debacle on the tour, thrashing them 2-0 in the Tests and 5-2 in the one-dayers as well.

New Zealand prospered on some tailor-made wickets in home conditions, where toss was often the difference between victory and defeat. But Fleming rubbed it on Ganguly's pride by making sneering remarks about his team and the batting line-up.

"If they are the best batsmen in the world they should prove it on any surface... it is just not good flashing your records all the time," Fleming had said.

If that was not stinging enough, Fleming made an even more acidic statement which put the Indians on a boil.

"I don't want India to go down to the World Cup with a happy feeling," Fleming said. "If the opposition is down you must keep them there."

The two teams have finally come face to face after a taxing, long-winding route to the final Super Six clash on Friday and India, on the strength of their convincing show, will try to do its best to put New Zealand in a spot which would only point it to the exit door.

As things stand now, India, already into the semi-finals, will go all out to beat New Zealand to allow them no better than a fourth spot in the Super Six stage and pit them against mighty Australians in the semi-finals, and possibly in elimination mode.

New Zealand qualified for the Super Sixes the hard way after forfeiting four points by refusing to travel to Nairobi.

They were then apparently down and out after losing their opening match to Sri Lanka, misreading the pitch and omitting their left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori.

Victories over the West Indies and South Africa allowed New Zealand to claw their way back into the tournament and wins over Bangladesh and Canada followed. Still they had to sweat on the result of the tied Sri Lanka-South Africa match before taking third place in Group B and making it to the Super Sixes.

En route there was the distraction of a nightclub scuffle in Durban, which resulted in fines for Chris Cairns and Brendon McCullum.

But Ganguly knows the folly of taking New Zealand lightly. New Zealand, like India, are never more stronger than when pushed into a corner.

Ganguly would do well to pay heed to Steve Waugh's comments that New Zealanders relish the role of underdogs.

New Zealand touted themselves as no-good against the Australians during the 1999 World Cup and then thrashed them the next day in a group game.

Adversity draws the Kiwis, famous for their collective spirit, even closer. New Zealand have a team of versatile cricketers who field like demons and regularly swap the batting order to unsettle the rivals. But they might have done themselves a disservice by preparing tailor-made wickets at home and then suddenly discover in this World Cup that their phantom bowlers are no good in these batsmen-friendly conditions.

Darryl Tuffey and Jacob Oram were unplayable not because of their line and length against the Indians at home but because of the sideways movement which the pitches generated.

India coach John Wright was pin-point accurate with his assessment when he said the designer pitches in New Zealand would not help their campaign either.

"That's the whole point. Those pitches were not going to help anyone. Neither New Zealand nor India in their preparation for the World Cup," said Wright, a former New Zealand player.

Now New Zealand find themselves up against a batting line-up which is led by the irrepressible Sachin Tendulkar who is threatening to make this World Cup all his own. Also joining in the Indian party are Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, whose big-hitting is beginning to finish off teams in quick succession.

It could be the turn of Shane Bond and his support staff now when the clash takes place on Friday.

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 45

Sub: This is the Right Time

All right India's run at the world cup has brought smiles on all of us cricket lovers but still there are scars on our hearts ...

Posted by Puneet

Sub: We want blood

Time to put kiwi team in its place. Don't get angry guys, get even. Keep a level head, don't let your anger dominate your thought ...

Posted by KK

Sub: waiting

come on India.. thrash this Newzealand and eliminate them from semi finals qualification...

Posted by cyberkhan

Sub: Its New Zealand's turn now !!!!!

What I think is this Indian team will come down absolutely Hard on the kiwis and show them their actual status when they are playing ...

Posted by Nischal Maniar

Sub: Choke'm to death

Eagerly waiting for this Friday's game after the March 1st game against Pak. Let the Men in Blue choke the Men in Black to death.

Posted by Sriram


© Copyright 2003 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Article Tools

Email this Article

Printer-Friendly Format

Letter to the Editor

Copyright © 2003 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.