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New Zealand will not underestimate Ireland, says coach
Richard Sydenham | April 09, 2007 10:54 IST
The Black Caps will move to eight points if they beat the Irish and will come within one victory of equalling their record 10-match ODI winning streak achieved in 2005.
Although a New Zealand victory is expected, nothing can be taken for granted following Bangladesh's stunning 67-run win over South Africa on Saturday.
"I'm not sure what the two teams took out of it but for us it was a warning note that you must respect all teams and all conditions in this competition," New Zealand coach John Bracewell told reporters.
"We're taking Ireland as seriously as any team we've played."
The Black Caps' most potent weapon is fast bowler Shane Bond, who has taken eight wickets in the tournament so far at an average of just 10.5.
The 31-year-old is the one Kiwi player who the Irish fear.
"He's a huge factor," Ireland coach Adrian Birrell said. "But every team has someone like Sri Lanka with (Chaminda) Vaas and Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan). These are bowlers we have never come across and we will have to learn very quickly.
"Bond is certainly someone we will be having a good look at on videos and we will try to get used to his style and action."
New Zealand will have to make do without pace bowler Michael Mason as he is still struggling with a calf strain.
Ireland will give all-rounder Andre Botha as long as possible to recover from his hamstring strain, captain Trent Johnston said.
Kevin O'Brien is likely to return to the Ireland side, while brothers John and Paul Mooney are standing by for Botha.
The seven-week tournament culminates with the final in Barbados on April 28.
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