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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


Sri Lanka ordeal awaits debutants Bermuda

N.Ananthanarayanan | March 15, 2007 10:23 IST

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Sri Lanka look set to hand Bermuda a World Cup baptism of fire in their opening Group B clash on Thursday.

The 1996 winners have served a warning after deciding to field both their strike bowlers, off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and left-arm paceman Chaminda Vaas.

Vaas, 33, would be smacking his lips after claiming a sensational hat-trick off the first three deliveries against Bangladesh in the last World Cup.

Bangladesh and India are also in the group.

Zimbabwe meet another debutants Ireland in Group D in Kingston, Jamaica, hoping to win the only game they are expected to, in a group which also features hosts West Indies and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody wants his players to strike rhythm quickly.

"I'm thrilled with what we got for this World Cup," he told reporters. "It is always a good sign if it is difficult to finalise your 11 on the first day."

Moody believes Sri Lanka, with many useful all-rounders and superb fielders, have the depth and stamina to go all the way.

"If I had a stab in the dark I'd have thought the versatility in the team," he explained.

Bermuda's amateurs are more concerned not to be overawed, having generated huge interest among their 60,000 strong compatriots, some of them would be at the Queen's Park Oval to cheer them.

"At the end of the day we just ask players not to be overawed or star struck," said coach Gus Logie, a former West Indies batsman.

POLITICAL STRIFE

Zimbabwe would to well to look into their World Cup history than recent events when they face Ireland.

The African side have played many exciting Cup matches, defeating both India and South Africa in 1999.

But after all the upheavals in their game in the last four years - contract rows and political strife leading to the loss of the bulk of their experienced players -- they risk losing further face if they lose.

Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran, however, is confident his inexperienced team would not disappoint.

"If Ireland are favourites then that is great," the former all-rounder told a news conference, "If we stick to our plans I think we can get a result.

"It will be a difficult game though," he added. "We have respect for all of the sides here and a lot of the associate teams have made improvements."

Ireland would turn back to last week when they reduced top-ranked South Africa to 91 for eight in a warm-up game before all-rounder Andrew Hall came to the rescue.


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