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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

Chappell backs New Zealand to reach World Cup final

John Mehaffey | April 02, 2007 11:29 IST

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New Zealand head into Monday's World Cup Super Eights match against Bangladesh with a ringing endorsement from one of their fiercest opponents on the cricket field.

Ian Chappell, who led Australia in their first two full series against New Zealand (1973-'74), believes the World Cup final in Barbados on April 28 will feature the two trans-Tasman rivals.

"The likelihood is that still only New Zealand has the skill and courage to challenge Australia," Chappell wrote in his column on the cricinfo Web Site.

"So far New Zealand has shown commendable resilience, coping despite injuries to important players in Lou Vincent, Ross Taylor and Mark Gillespie.

"In the lead-up to the tournament, New Zealand showed the rest of the world just how vulnerable Australia's bowling was by twice chasing down totals well in excess of 300."

New Zealand and Australia are the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament, although the Kiwis lost a 13-a-side warm-up match to Bangladesh shortly after their arrival in the Caribbean fresh from their 3-0 series win over Australia.

"They turned us over in a warm-up game; they've been competitive at this tournament and with conditions right they can be quite a handful," captain Stephen Fleming told reporters.

Australia trounced Bangladesh by 10 wickets on Saturday in a match reduced to 22 overs a side and coach Dav Whatmore, another former Australian international, has had just one day to lift his troops for a tilt at the Kiwis.

"They are another good side and they'll consider themselves one of the favourites," he told reporters.

"They are a good solid team in any conditions, they're a very good fielding team and it's very difficult to bowl them out because their all-rounders give them so much depth and flexibility."

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