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Big test for Windies

Posted by Dresonic on March 27, 2007

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – Hosts West Indies will face perhaps their sternest test to date in the 2007 Cricket World Cup when they clash with world champions Australia in the first match of the Super Eights at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground here today.
Both teams finished the group stage with perfect records and are focusing on extending that success into the all-important second round.

West Indies’ cricket captain Brian Lara bats in the nets during a practice session at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in St John’s, Antigua, yesterday. West Indies will play Australia in the first match of the Super Eights round of the Cricket World Cup today. (Photo: AP)

“For us it’s important. Both teams already advanced with two points after beating the other qualifier and Australia will of course start as favourites tomorrow (Tuesday) and will continue as favourites until the exit the tournament or win the tournament,” West Indies captain Brian Lara told a media conference yesterday.

“So for us it’s a huge game. We have had some success against them in the recent past. We know it’s going to be tough, Australia’s never-say-die attitude will always be present and we are going to work hard to make sure we get the better of them.”
Ponting earlier labelled the West Indies as “dangerous”, noting they were a very good One-Day side.
Lara played down the compliment, pointing out that Australia were playing at their best and his team needed to match the defending champions’ skills.

“That’s good. It’s nice to know that he considers us dangerous. I still think that we have got a lot of work to do to match the skills of the Australian team consistently,” Lara said.
“We have beaten them in the past. They are more than dangerous if you want to put it that way. If the West Indies are dangerous they are more than dangerous.

“They are playing at their best and I can tell by the way they are playing that they are here to make a hat-trick of wins. You have got to respect that. They are very confident with their ability.
“But it’s nice to know they consider us dangerous. I hope that they do of the entire 15 players because that’s what we are trying to create – a lot more dangerous players.”

He added: “I’m pretty confident we are going to do well in this tournament. It’s not about being giant killers. This tournament has still got a month left and it is important for us to take each game at a time and don’t get over confident if we get a win tomorrow, just go on and execute.”

Ponting said the match-up at the venue, named after Antigua & Barbuda’s only living national hero and former West Indies captain and master-batsman, will be a special one for CWC 2007.
“Once again it is another very exciting game in this World Cup. The West Indies are a very dangerous team. They are on home soil. They should know these conditions better than anybody else. They will have great support all round the Caribbean,” said Ponting, who is just two runs away from completing 1000 in CWC.

“Every step you take in this tournament it becomes more and more exciting and Tuesday, once again, is going to be one of our biggest games in the World Cup.”
While both teams are expected to announce the final XI before the start of game, West Indies are likely to replace left-arm seamer Ian Bradshaw with medium-pacer Corey Collymore who missed the last game.
Australia are expected to retain the line-up that beat World number one South Africa convincingly in their final Group A match on Saturday.

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