Ads 468x60px

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ICC CWC Warm-Up: Previews

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is almost upon us and Bumper Saturday brings with it as many as five warm-up matches. Here are the previews.
By Rajarshi Gupta
Before you go on to read our previwes, here is where you get to know all you want to about the TeamsStar Players , CaptainsStatisticsFactoids,HistoryVenues and of course the Fixtures of the ICC Cricket World Cup. 
South Africa vs Zimbabwe

One of the title favourites, South Africa start their ICC Cricket World Cup sojourn with a warm-up match against Zimbabwe, a match which is expected to help both teams assess their fitness and acclimatise to the conditions ahead of the big one.

High on confidence after their ODI series win over India last month, South Africa will look to gain vital match practice in the day-night encounter at the refurbished M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

The Greame Smith-led Proteas, after a hard-fought Test and ODI series against India at home, have had two days of nets since their arrival in Chennai on Wednesday.

Smith had already indicated that the team's sole aim this time around, is to bag the coveted trophy that has not only eluded them so far but also earned them the tag of chokers.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe, currently in a rebuilding phase, have nothing to lose and would look to cause an upset or two, like they did against Australia in a warm-up tie during the ICC World T20 in April last year.

Coached by former England batsman Alan Butcher, Zimbabwe have won just eight of 46 matches in seven appearances.

Skippered by all-rounder Elton Chigumbura, Zimbabwe are hoping their tour of Bangladesh last December and inputs from West Indian legend and consultant Brain Lara would stand them in good stead during the tournament.

The team has three seamers, as many specialist slow bowlers, and it would rely on them to make for the lack of firepower in fast bowling.

West Indies vs Kenya

West Indies kick off their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign against Kenya when the two sides clash in Colombo on Saturday. Explosive Windies opener, Chris Gayle has already sounded out a warning to some of the top teams in the mega-event and consequently the world will watch if they demolish Kenya in the warm-up match.

West Indies have struggled for the last 15 years at the ICC Cricket World Cup. They reached the last-four in the sub-continent back in 1996 before losing a tight one against Australia. On a rebuilding phase, the men from the Caribbean will look to live up some of their past glory against an African side, which has the potential to slay some giants.

Kenya had stormed to the semis of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 and will certainly back their chances at the prestigious tournament eight years from then.

Led by Jimmy Kamande, Kenya will have more than a point to prove - all the backing from the ICC now needs to be justified. The West Indies have a relatively new skipper as well in Darren Sammy and the all-rounder will feel the heat even if it happens to be a practice game against a lower ranked side.

The warm-up tie will have lots to play for - both sides are capable of causing some upsets and the tournament heavy-weights will certainly have their eyes glued to the scorecard.
New Zealand vs Ireland

New Zealand have had a rough ride over the last year, losing to Bangladesh, India and then surrendering to Pakistan at home but have a chance to start off the ICC Cricket World Cup on a good note. Braced to play Ireland in their warm-up game in Nagpur, the Kiwis would want to iron out every flaw in their ranks.

However, Ireland are no push-overs as Pakistan found out, much to their peril in the West Indies in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007. Given what the Black Caps have gone through, skipper Daniel Vettori would like to take no chances - an upset against Ireland could be a major blow for a side that is already reeling from lack of confidence.

Jesse Ryder, on his comeback trail, has shown glimpses of the destructive batsman that he is while a lot will depend on Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum up the order.

Ireland skipper William Porterfield has indicated that he means business in the tournament and has reassured his country men that the team will not be pushovers. With the likes of George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Porterfield, the O-Brien brothers - Niall and Kevin, they have some quality in the team. New Zealand must not and will not take them lightly.
Sri Lanka vs Netherlands

Runners-up from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will get things rolling when they take on the Netherlands in their first warm-up game of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the sub-continent.

Already touted as one of the pre-tournament favourites, Sri Lanka have a potent spin attack in the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan and the wily Ajantha Mendis. The pace line-up in the hands of Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando looks promising as well. Mahela Jayawardene, Tillekaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara form the crux of a class batting order and one which instils fear deep down the spines of opponents the world over. A line-up like that against the Netherlands does look like a huge mismatch.

However, the Dutch would not like to be found wanting on such a grand stage. Led by the feisty Peter Borren, the side have some rather promising players who can step on the gas. Bas Zuiderent and Tom de Grooth are stars in their own rights - the latter infact became the first Dutchman to bag a contract in the Indian Premier League when he was signed on by the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Islanders are tough to beat at home and will be more than a handful for the starry-eyed Netherlands.
Bangladesh vs Canada

Bangladesh have come a long way since the last ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007 when they sent favourites India packing out of the tournament. As the Tigers prepare to play Canada in their first warm-up game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Shakib-al-Hasan’s boys will ride high on their whitewash of New Zealand late 2010 and some impressive performances which included triumphs in the West Indies.

Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order is a dangerous commodity while Shakib’s all-round abilities have only grown his stature in the international arena. Bangladesh have a compact side and the players appear ready to take a crack at at-least the quarter finals.

Canada may not be as talented yet but players like Rizwan Cheema and Balaji Rao have helped the ICC Associate Members climb up the ladders steadily and there is no reason why they cannot up the ante in what will be the most high-profile ICC Cricket World Cup in history.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...