Australia set to knock England out
Antigua, West Indies, April 7: Who will celebrate Easter - the feast
of the Risen Christ-? Will it be Australia or England?
The answer to this question would be found at the end of the game
when bitter rivals, Australia and England lock horns at the Sir Vivian
Richards Stadium here in Antigua. Australia who are the reigning World
Cup champions and who are determined to win this one and make it
three-in-a-row, an achievement never before achieved, are the favourites
to knock England out, and out of the running for the World Cup.
In addition, Australia have a score to settle. England bashed them in
the Commonwealth Bank one-day series in Australia, after being whipped
in the Ashes series and on form, Australia should win this clash.
No matches were played on Holy Thursday and Good Friday-the day on
which Jesus Christ was crucified on the Cross to atone for the sins of
the world. On Saturday, South Africa and Bangladesh kicked off the
tourney in Guyana. According to Australian coach John Buchnan, Australia
is looking to eliminate England from the semi-final race with two more
games to spare in the Super 8 tournament. For England, it is must win
game to stay in the race.
After a 'net', the coach said that it is very important game for the
Aussies and that coming out on top would enable them to knock another
team out of the tournament.
Generally teams winning the toss have the liking to put the opposing
team in to bat.
But the Sri Lankans showed that batting first or second would not
matter if the teams adopt the right approach. Australia no doubt have
the better all round side and they are equipped to face whatever the
In Ricky Ponting they have one of the best captains going in this
World Cup, the other being Sri Lanka's Mahela Jaywardena, and the
Aussies will be cleverly directed.Led by opener Matthew Hayden who has
two centuries to his name in the on-going tournament - the other being
Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya - the Kangaroos have batsmen who can make
big scores. Adam Gilchrist, the skipper, Micheal Clarke and Andrew
Symonds can all take big runs.
They will miss allrounder Shane Watson in this game because of
injury. But that would not matter to the Aussies. Left Armer Nathan
Bracken, Shaun Tait have met with success so far and they will be
supported by the medium pace and off-spin of Symonds and the spin of
Brad Hogg. The Aussies are one of the best fielding side, with Sri Lanka
being the other.
As for England, their early batting has been woeful. Skipper Micheal
Vaughan and Ed.Joyce have never given them the platform for the rest of
the batsmen to launch out. Why England are not playing Andrew Strauss
instead of Joyce only the England selectors could explain.
Only Ian Bell and Kevin Petersen have obliged with the bat, supported
by Paul Nixon and Ravi Bopara. Most disappointing has been the overated
As punishment, Flintoff should have been dropped or sent home for the
irresponsible shot he played against Sri Lanka which lost them the
match. Australia is at the top of Super 8 standing with 6 points,
sharing the lead with Sri Lanka and New Zealand but ahead on run rate.