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PROMOTION BECKONS:Australia's Mitchell Johnson, snapped with Michael Clarke at the practice session, may bat up the order against New Zealand on Friday.
NAGPUR: Australia is ready for any cricket questions New Zealand may pose in an exciting contest between the known rivals.
The Kiwis are known for tactical innovation in World Cup arena and a heavy diet of spin on a firm Vidarbha CA stadium is a possibility. But it is unlikely to startle the four-time champion.
Both sides come into Friday's game with a victory under the belt against weak teams and this tie between familiar opponents may break the trend of one-sided matchups so far in the competition.
Daniel Vettori hinted at New Zealand retaining the combination which crushed Kenya, Ricky Ponting mentioned about promotion for Mitchell Johnson higher up the batting order if the situation arose. The Kiwi skipper is a master of line and length and the Aussies may send the left-hander to disrupt spinners.
Cricket Australia's announcement that the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy will be awarded to the winner of this Group A league tie has lent a new twist.
The day match negates the influence of dew on teams defending totals in day-night games under lights. The Kiwis have an assembly line of big-hitters in Scott Styris, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum to take advantage of the VCA wicket where the ball came on nicely off the track in the previous game between England and The Netherlands.
The Australian batting line-up is impressive with Ponting showing the way for Shane Watson, Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke.
Clear about approach
The Aussie skipper is clear about his own and team's approach to the game. “Preparing well, preparing the team well is our focus. Let us see how far our talent takes us. We are always well prepared, that is important,” quipped Ponting, prior to a training session. “New Zealand may try anything against us, even two spinners and they are good. Our batsmen are ready for it.” He referred to the power plays as the decisive factor to swing the game around.
The New Zealand captain Vettori said: “Batting and bowling power plays come and go. Some days you do it well, some days you do it poorly. It's really hard to get a consistent feel on it. It just swings every game, you couldn't say any team has mastered either side of it.
“We get another chance in this game to try and do it. Three out of our last four games we've been great with the ball and one of them we've been very poor.”
For New Zealand, the challenge is about performing in crunch games against major teams. Vettori was specific about what he expects from the side.
“There's no mystery as to what we're going to try to do, but the key when you come up against big teams and big players is having the presence of mind to execute them time and time again.”
The teams (from):
Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt.), Doug Bollinger, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Tim Painz, Steve Smith, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson and Cameron White.
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (capt.), Hamish Bennett, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Jamie How, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Luke Woodcock.
Umpires: Billy Doctrove and Kumar Dharmasena; Third umpire: Asad Rauf; Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle.
Match starts at 9.30 a.m.
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