February 15, 2011 1:59:34 pm
Indian team will be looking to keep up the momentum they gained during their morale-boosting win over defending champions Australia,despite the middle-order batting woes,when they take on New Zealand in their second and final warm-up match of the World Cup.
The match would provide India,who defeated Australia by 38 runs in their first practice match in Bangalore on Sunday,a last chance to assess the fitness of players and combination before the mega-event,commencing on February 19 in Dhaka where India will take on Bangladesh in the inaugural tie.
On the other hand,New Zealand,who have had a poor run in the recent past,did a world of good to their own morale when they overcame a fighting Ireland by 32 runs in their high-scoring warm-up tie in Nagpur,thanks to a solid 130 by Martin Guptill.
Looking to put behind their dismal performance of losing 14 of their last 17 ODIs,the Kiwis would be banking on the experience and expertise of their new coach John Wright in the sub-continent conditions,to keep alive their hopes of making it to the knock-out stage.
Meanwhile,India would be looking to make full use of the home conditions to put up a better show here than Bangalore.
On the match eve of the final warm-up match today,Dhoni rued the lack of partnership in the previous game and asked his teammates to show more intensity on the field.
“I think we needed a partnership in the middle,which didn’t really happen for us. That was one of the reasons we were not able to score big. We need to pick up a bit of intensity on the filed. We will be progressing into the World Cup games this being the last warm up match,” said Dhoni ahead of the team’s net session at the M A Chidambaram Stadium today morning.
Speaking about the Kiwis,Dhoni said,”They are a competitive side and are expected to come up with collective batting and bowling performances. They are very talented side and good at fielding too.”
However,there are no major worries for the Indian team against the Kiwis since they know the latter’s weaknesses,having beaten them squarely in the series at home late last year.
Moreover,the return of Sachin Tendulkar,who is certain to play tomorrow’s tie,would also boost India.
It will also give the iconic batsman a chance to assess himself ahead of the sporting extravaganza.
“Sachin will be playing tomorrow but we will preserve Zaheer (Khan) for the tournament. There are no worries about Zaheer’s mild groin injury as he is fit for play (the World Cup),” Dhoni said.
As for the wicket,which was termed as under-prepared by captains of both South Africa and Zimbabwe after their warm-up match here on Saturday last,Dhoni said,”the wicket on which we are to play tomorrow is damp now and I cannot say as to how it will behave.”
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