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K-factor keeps Kiwis on toes

cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2007 02:13 IST

Reuters
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New Zealand coach John Bracewell has promised his side will treat their match against Kenya with the same importance as they did their opening game against England.

Black Caps' captain Stephen Fleming spoke after the team's six-wicket success, of now having a "game in hand" leading into the Super Eight phase, for which New Zealand and England are favourites to qualify from Group C also featuring Canada.

But Bracewell said that Kenya's seven-wicket win over Canada last week meant New Zealand couldn't let up when they played the surprise semifinalists of four years ago on Tuesday.

"We've got two points to carry through should England qualify. That's the importance of the Kenyan match. We have to win that just in case it's Kenya who qualify because they are the other team with two points in the bag."

While England coach Duncan Fletcher has talked of his side needing four wins to get to the semi-finals in the Caribbean, Bracewell said he was not yet prepared to look that far ahead.

"For us it's game by game because rhythm is quite an important thing in any tournament," the former New Zealand off-spinner explained. Bracewell, who said he hoped to give all his squad a run-out during the Black Caps' two remaining matches, said he'd received a briefing on the Africans from Andy Moles, the former Kenya coach.

Moles, who was an opening batsman for English county Warwickshire, is now coaching New Zealand first-class side Northern Districts.

"We've got a fair degree of notes from Andy Moles who worked with them over an extended period so we've got a fair bit of scouting done on them."

Kenya coach Roger Harper said he hoped his local knowledge would prove an asset.

"The advantage here is that the wicket hasn't changed much so my experience counts for something. I've been here before. I know what to expect as far as the conditions and the culture are concerned."

And as for the prospect of Kenya advancing to the Super Eights, Harper added: "Our objective is to play our best cricket in each game and if we can do that the result will take care of itself."

But Harper was in no doubt about what playing at a World Cup meant to his non-Test side.

"It gives the Kenyan players, the team and the nation, an opportunity to showcase its talents, to make the whole world aware of what the standard of cricket is like in Kenya."