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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Aussies will not relax against Kenya

March 13, 2003 17:50 IST

Ricky Ponting wants Australia to use their final Super Six match against Kenya on Saturday to show their remaining World Cup rivals that they still mean business.

With both sides already in the semi-finals, the match in Durban has little meaning but Ponting said: "We can use the match to make a statement of intent for the rest of the tournament.

"If we can come out and play really well against a Kenya side that has just beaten Zimbabwe and given India a run for their money, it might mean something to the other sides we have still got to play," the Australia captain told Reuters.

Ponting is also keen to see his top-order use the match profitably after they were skittled by New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond in their last match in Port Elizabeth.

"We played really well against Sri Lanka but not so well against New Zealand," he said.

"Although we bowled and fielded well and won by a big margin, we did not bat well so, as a team and as individuals, there is a fair amount to gain from this match."

Ponting is not expecting complacency from his players, despite a record-breaking streak of 14 one-day international wins and a match-up against a side Australia beat twice in a tri-series late last year.

"Pride in our performance has been an enormous factor in the way we have been performing and we could not have gone on this run of wins without that," Ponting added.

'NEXT INCENTIVE'

"On top of that, the players have always been able to see the next incentive and that is no different coming into Saturday's match.

"All the way through the preliminary round they could see the Super Sixes, then after the first win at that stage there was the semi-final.

"Everyone will want to perform to make sure they are ready for that big game."

Ponting said he would sit down with several players, among them the bowlers, to see if they wanted a break ahead of that semi-final against either Sri Lanka or New Zealand in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

However, with the desire to maintain the side's winning momentum, it is unlikely there will be many changes.

Replacement players Nathan Bracken and Nathan Hauritz have yet to figure in a match, while Jimmy Maher has played just twice.

Ponting said all rounder Andrew Symonds' fitness would be assessed on Thursday after he missed the past two matches with a groin injury.

A win for Australia on Saturday would give them another record. It would be their 15th match without defeat, breaking their own record set in early 2000. That run included a rain-ruined game.

For Kenya, who became the first non-test playing side to reach the last four of the World Cup when they beat Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, the match against Australia will be another chance to showcase their talent at international level.

TAKE NOTICE

Wins over Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and now Zimbabwe have done their claims for test status no harm but a good performance against the world champions would make the cricket world really sit up and take notice.

It is also an opportunity for Steve Tikolo's side to get used to playing under lights at Durban, the venue for their day-night semi-final against India next Thursday.

Kenya and Australia have played three times, twice last year in Nairobi and in the 1996 World Cup in Vishakapatnam, won by Australia by 97 runs.

Tikolo is one of six Kenya survivors from that first game -- the others are Kennedy Otieno, Maurice Odumbe, Hitesh Modi, Thomas Odoyo and Martin Suji -- while Australia have three players still in action, Ponting, Michael Bevan and Glenn McGrath.

Ponting was full of praise for Kenya's efforts.

"They are the only so-called minnow side to have really given it a crack and they are obviously having fun so good on them."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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