War won't stop final: organisers | india | Hindustan Times
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War won't stop final: organisers

The World Cup final will go ahead as planned at the Wanderers here on Sunday despite the opening of hostilities in Iraq, a tournament spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2003 16:04 IST

The World Cup final will go ahead as planned at the Wanderers here on Sunday despite the opening of hostilities in Iraq, a tournament spokesman told AFP on Thursday.

However, the match will take place against a background of heightened security with more police on duty.

"Everything is on track and the final goes ahead as planned," said Rodney Hartman, the World Cup organising committee's communications director.

"There are no plans to change the schedule but the match will take place with a heightened security awareness."

Both the final, as well as the remaining semi-final later Thursday in Durban between India and Kenya, will see more South African police on duty.

However, there are no plans yet to post soldiers at the two venues.

"There will be an increased awareness of security in both the public and private sectors," added Hartman.

As well as security considerations, the organisers were also worrying about the weather as torrential rain swept across KwaZulu-Natal putting in doubt a prompt start to the Kingsmead day-night semi-final.

The rain was forecast to remain for much of the day which would mean the match being switched to Friday's reserve day.

If that also proved to be a washout, then India would be declared the winners having defeated the Africans by six wickets in the Super Sixes two weeks ago.

"It's something that's out of our hands. I hope the game goes ahead because we came here to play cricket," said Kenya coach Sandeep Patil.

To add to their problems, the Kenyans are sweating on the fitness of three of their veterans - Maurice Odumbe, Thomas Odoyo and Kennedy Otieno.

"Maurice is struggling with his thigh, Thomas with his groin and Kennedy's elbow is still sore," explained Patil.

"Martin Suji's hamstrings are also sore and Steve Tikolo has only just recovered from tonsilitis."

Veterans Odumbe (38 not out) and Odoyo (43 not out) saw Kenya home to their seven-wicket Super Six win over Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein last week, a victory which made sure the team became the first non-Test nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Both missed the 'dead' Super Six match against defending champions Australia in Durban on Saturday - a match where wicket-keeper Otieno was struck a painful blow on the elbow in the process of being bowled by Brett Lee.

However, Patil - a World Cup winner as a player with India in 1983 - revealed that several of his veterans had played hurt before.

"I'm so proud of these boys. Against Zimbabwe they weren't fit. But they played and never complained."