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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

Bond poses biggest threat to Australia's unbeaten record

John Mehaffey | April 20, 2007 12:34 IST

Shane Bond, the New Zealand policeman who set out to become the best fast bowler in the world, poses the biggest threat to Australia's unbeaten World Cup record on Friday.

The trans-Tasman rivals, who have already qualified for next week's semi-finals, meet in the final Super Eights match at the Grenada National Stadium.

Unless New Zealand defeat the defending champions by an improbable margin, Australia will travel to St Lucia for Wednesday's semi-final against South Africa, first versus fourth from the second-stage Super Eights round robin.

New Zealand would meet Sri Lanka in Jamaica on the previous day with the final scheduled for Barbados on April 28.

At the last World Cup four years ago, Bond took six for 23 against Australia at Port Elizabeth, the best one-day performance by a New Zealander, but still finished on the losing side.

"I came off the field feeling great but after that we collapsed in reply and I just felt empty because it had turned out to be all for nothing," Bond recalled before the start of the tournament.

Bond has taken 12 wickets at less than 13 runs apiece in the tournament and conceded only 2.58 runs an over. In 11 matches against Australia he has captured 34 wickets at 13.88, including a hat-trick in the Chappell-Hadlee series this year.

Australia will have noted, though, that in New Zealand's only loss so far in the tournament, Sri Lanka denied Bond a wicket and captain Stephen Fleming was dismissed for a duck.

Captain Ricky Ponting, who tuned up on Thursday against a bowling machine reproducing Bond's top speed of around 145 km an hour, said the Kiwi always provided a great challenge.

"He's a very good wicket-taker in one-day cricket," Ponting told a news conference. "His strike rate and economy rate are both pretty impressive. He does save his best for us."

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