England's shock win puts heat on Kiwis
New Zealand can make resurgent England's task of reaching the finals even harder if they can hand leaders Australia a second successive loss.india Updated: Feb 04, 2007 16:34 IST
New Zealand can make resurgent England's task of reaching the finals even harder if they can build on recent form and hand tri-series leaders Australia a second successive loss in their one-dayeron Sunday.
The Kiwis must win at least one of their two remaining pool matches, against Australia and against England in Brisbane on Tuesday, to play in the tri-series finals.
Captain Stephen Fleming said England's breakthrough 92-run win over Australia in Sydney on Friday made things tougher for his team but the Black Caps have to get used to winning when it matters.
New Zealand and England are locked on nine points behind Australia's 27 points heading into the final two pool matches.
"This is what we wanted," Fleming said Saturday. "We want it to be a semi-final, a pressure game, where we continue the momentum we build.
"That's what the World Cup's about, so if anything we couldn't ask for much more.
"It's uncomfortable because you want to win these next two games, but we certainly don't want to miss out on the finals so we've got to play accordingly."
New Zealand have been continually improving in the tri-series and got to within eight runs of beating Australia in a high-scoring game in Perth last Sunday.
The Black Caps gave the Aussies a fright thanks mainly to Jacob Oram's magnificent century but still have lost 18 of their past 20 matches against Australia.
Fleming said his side's form was encouraging but New Zealand must start beating Australia.
"While we're close it's okay to walk away saying 'Gee, we're not far away'. But far away could be eight runs, it could be 58 runs. We've got to get across the line."
New Zealand have to wait until Sunday before announcing the make-up of their bowling attack, as strike bowler Shane Bond will be rested in one of the remaining two pool games to give his troublesome back further time to settle.
Bond played in New Zealand's win over England last Tuesday, but could be replaced by Kyle Mills.
Batting allrounder Scott Styris is also likely to come into the side after overcoming back problems, which could force Craig McMillan out.
First Published: Feb 03, 2007 14:43 IST