Since there's no more competition for semi-final berths apart from the the final standings, we decided to do the showdowns for the rest of the Super Eight matches early (also yours truly needed a break). The Kangaroos take on the Kiwis today, and it is surely going to be a battle. New Zealand would be hoping that they can avoid playing the Sri Lankans in the semis, for which they need to win the match for starters. Australia, on the other hand, would also know that Muttiah Muralitharan can easily wreck their chances of a treble.
However, both teams would need to focus on this match first. Shane Bond has troubled Australia in the past and Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming will be hoping that the bowler rises to the occassion. Bond though has looked slightly off-pace though his swing and line have generally been on target. Perhaps being pitted against the tearaway bowler Shaun Tait would spur him to bowl that much quicker.
New Zealand have had successes in the recent past against the Aussies but no one has beaten this side in the World Cup for a good 26 matches. This one should be a thriller, especially if the Aussies are given a target to chase. It would be good preparation for them, though handling Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel well by no way means that the champions are ready to face Murali.
Australia v/s New Zealand
AKG: New Zealand
Match scheduled to start at 1900 IST on DD-1, SET MAX (English) and SAB TV (Hindi).