England, New Zealand seek comfortable wins

Updated on Sep 11, 2004 11:23 AM IST

England and New Zealand start their Champions Trophy campaigns as overwhelming favourites to record comfortable victories on Friday.

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PTI | ByReuters, London

England and New Zealand start their Champions Trophy campaigns as overwhelming favourites to record comfortable victories on Friday.

England, whose recent Test form has been outstanding but who have struggled in the shorter version of the game, face severely depleted Zimbabwe at Edgbaston, while New Zealand take on the United States at the Oval.

Michael Vaughan's side, with newly crowned one-day player of the year Andrew Flintoff returning after missing the defeat by India on Sunday, have won just five of 12 one-day matches this year.

However, they should not realistically be troubled by Zimbabwe, whose team have been shorn of any experience due to an internal political battle that has caused 15 white players to be excluded from the team.

New Zealand, in contrast, meet the US as heavy favourites to win the game and one of the teams to beat in the 12-nation tournament.

The Black Caps, who were disappointing in 2003, have run into a rich vein of form in one-day internationals, losing just two of 15 matches this year.

They beat both Pakistan and South Africa 5-1 at home before cantering through a triangular series against England and West Indies in June unbeaten.

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