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24 Mar 2007 06:16
Some of the biggest hitters in the World Cup will take aim at the short Warner Park boundaries on Saturday in the final Group A match between Australia and South Africa.
The ground has already assumed a special place in cricket history after South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs struck six sixes in an over against The Netherlands.
In the last encounter between the world champions and the current world number side, South Africa scored 438 for nine in Johannesburg to win a one-day series 3-2 after Australia had reached 434 for one.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting agreed this week that totals in excess of 400 were possible again and he devoted part of a practice session at a local park with a series of lofted straight drives from a bowling machine into a field of sugar cane.
With the exception of the injured Brett Lee, Australia will field their best team on Saturday dropping the unfortunate Brad Hodge, who hit a century against The Netherlands, in favour of all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
Symonds is one of the hardest strikers of the ball in a team who regularly pepper the boundary. South Africa can counter with Gibbs and Justin Kemp.
After disposing of The Netherlands and Scotland with predictable ease, both teams are ready for the challenge on Saturday with an invaluable two points going to the winners to assist their passage during the Super Eights.
“I think we will be expecting a good old Australia-South Africa showdown,” Symonds told reporters on Friday.
“There will be no love lost.”
England welcome all-rounder Andrew Flintoff back to their side for their final Group C match against Kenya.
Flintoff was stripped of the vice-captaincy and banned for a game after a late night drinking escapade following the loss to New Zealand.
He has been appropriately contrite, pledging to give his all to the cause for the remainder of the tournament.
England have not looked convincing since their surprise 2-0 win over Australia in the final of the tri-series but even an average performance should be too much for the Kenyans. - Reuters
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