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New Zealand play India for survival in tri-series

A defeat will push Kiwis out of the series, while a victory for India will secure its place in the final.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2003 12:20 IST

It will be a desperate fight for the visiting New Zealand team when they play India on Thursday in a crucial one-dayer of the tri-series cricket tournament that also includes Australia.

A defeat in the day-night game will keep the Kiwis out of the series, while a victory for the hosts will secure their place in the Nov. 18 title contest.

Australia has already reached the finals with 18 points from four games. India has eight points from three matches and New Zealand has four.

New Zealand's Coach Ashley Ross said the team was not under pressure after losing a closely contested match against Australia on Monday.

"Not at all. It's always the next game," said Ross. However, the Kiwis are going to miss key all-rounder Chris Cairns during Thursday's match. Cairns will sit out because of a hamstring injury.

The team's performance in India is "gaining momentum," Ross said, referring to the last match against Australia, in which New Zealand scored a challenging total of 258 runs. In its first match against Australia, it was bundled out for 97.

Indians would like to avoid the permutations and combinations that will come into play if they lose the game on Thursday. "This is a crucial game. We know the value of winning this game," stand-in captain Rahul Dravid said.

Ruling out any major change in the batting order, Dravid said he expects the top-order batsmen "to counter the New Zealand team, which bats very deep."

The visiting team will try to exploit the pitch at the Barabati Stadium in this eastern city, which has always favored batsmen. "It's a good pitch, might keep a little low as the game goes on," Dravid said.

India won the last match it played here against New Zealand in 1988.

The team, however, will be without ace spinner Anil Kumble, who took the highest number of wickets in any one-day international played on this pitch.

Both India and New Zealand are likely to announce their list for the final 11 players just before the start of the day-night game.

India (from): Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Hemang Badani, Yuvraj Singh, Vangipurappu Laxman, Mohammad Kaif, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Sairaj Bahutule, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Murali Kartik and Ashish Nehra.

New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Chris Harris, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan, Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent, Chris Nevin, Kyle Mills and Ian Butler.

First Published: Nov 06, 2003 12:20 IST