New Zealand

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CWC Round-Up: 20 March

Another day, another drubbing for the Associates, as Scotland met South Africa and Kenya met New Zealand.

Batting second seems to be the smart thing to do at this World Cup, so Kenya followed the trend and put New Zealand in to bat after winning the toss, a decision that scored immediate dividends as Lou Vincent found himself walking back to the pavillion after a 4th-ball duck. That was the brightest spot of the innings for Kenya, though, as Fleming, Taylor, Styris and McMillan helped themselves to a feast of runs off the Kenyan total on their way to a total of 331 from their 50 overs. In reply, it was really only a determined stand of 71 by Ravi Shah, assisted by Thomas Odoyo's 42, that saved Kenya's blushes - 7 other batsmen failed to make double figures, including the usually-reliable captain Steve Tikolo, and the Kenyans were bowled out for 183, with New Zealand securing their place in the Super Eight in the process.

South Africa likewise won their toss and put Scotland in to bat, having apparently tired of batting practice against the Netherlands. Scotland didn't disgrace themselves, working their way to 186/8 from their allotted overs, with Dougie Brown top-scoring on 45 not out, but once South Africa came to the crease it was clear the match would be over well ahead of time. Captain Graeme Smith clubbed his way to 91 off 65 balls, de Villiers 62 off 67 balls, with Prince, Kemp and Pollock finishing the job after their departure in an innings that lasted just 23 overs. South Africa are now assured of their Super Eight place, while Scotland are assured of their trip home.
South Africa beat Scotland by 7 wickets
New Zealand beat Kenya by 148 runs

Next up: Zimbabwe v Pakistan, a game that Zimbabwe must win to remain in the tournament, and Sri Lanka v Bangladesh.

CWC Round-Up: 16 March

Records dropping in huge numbers in yesterday's matches, as South Africa hammered Netherlands and New Zealand convincingly beat England.

Netherlands made it another bad day for the Associate sides, as South Africa showed no mercy and rewrote the record books in the process. The highlight was Herschelle Gibbs' six sixes in one over - the first in ODI cricket - but that was just the icing on the cake. Other records included most century partnerships in an ODI (3), most sixes in an innings (18), fastest 50 in World Cup history (Mark Boucher, off 21 balls), and more besides. In reply, Netherland simply opted to bat out their overs, and eventually fell to a huge 221-run loss.

England, meanwhile, would have been hoping to continue from where they left off against Australia - but so were New Zealand, and the boys from God's own country came out on top against a tame England display. Such was the mood in the England camp after the loss, that "a number" of England players were fined by the ECB for disciplinary offences, after hitting a nightclub after the match. Drowining their sorrows, perhaps? England have failed to go further than the group stage in the last 2 World Cups - you have to wonder if Kenya will be the banana skin to stop them progressing this time around. I'd say the odds were at least even...
South Africa beat Netherlands by 221 runs
New Zealand beat England by 5 wickets

Next up: Bangladesh v India, and Ireland v Pakistan.

CWC Round-Up: 9 March

The final four warm-up matches were played yesterday, with the top 8 seeds featuring this time around, and from a Zimbabwean point of view there was good news and bad. First up, the bad: Pakistan found some form (or South Africa lost theirs, depending how you view it) and took some revenge for their recent series drubbing with a convincing 7-wicket win over the Proteas. Personally, I'm hoping that was more down to a slump by the South Africans. On the good front, West Indies were hammered by India in a match that lasted less than 44 overs total - the hosts collapsed to 85 all out in a dismal performance, with India knocking the required runs inside 19 overs. More of the same form from the West Indies in the group stage, please...

In the other matches, Australia took revenge for their CB Series defeat by beating England. Duncan Fletcher had obviously seen that coming and had made comments before the match that England weren't looking for the win, but even so this still wouldn't have been quite the warm-up England would have wanted. New Zealand recovered from their loss to Bangladesh by seeing off Sri Lanka in a close-fought match in the final of the day's pairings.
Pakistan beat South Africa by 7 wickets
Australia beat England by 5 wickets
New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 18 runs
India beat West Indies by 9 wickets

That's the end of the warm-up matches - the next matches will actually count for something. The next match is the opener on March 13th, and it's a Group D clash between West Indies and Pakistan. See you then...

CWC Round-Up: 6 March

Three other warm-up matches yesterday, apart from the Australia - Zimbabwe clash which I've covered separately. Bangladesh pulled off the first upset of the tournament by beating New Zealand (fresh from giving the Aussies a hammering) by 2 wickets, with Mashrafe Mortaza (4/44 and 30*) being key to the Tigers' performance. Maybe all those ODIs against Zimbabwe have been good practice, and here's hoping Bangladesh can carry on performing once the group stage starts.

Elsewhere, the matches went according to the script. India easily saw off the Dutch challenge, after posting 300 from their 50 overs & bundling the Netherlands out within 38 overs, while Pakistan likewise had few problems dealing with Canada.
Bangladesh beat New Zealand by 2 wickets
Pakistan beat Canada by 77 runs
India beat Netherlands by 182 runs

The next round of warm-up matches begins on Thursday, with four matches featuring the teams seeded 9-16 in the competition: Bermuda v Zimbabwe, Canada v Ireland, Bangladesh v Scotland and Kenya v Netherlands.

ICC Issues Statement Over Match-Fixing Rumours

The ICC have issued a statment denying rumours of an investigation into match-fixing in the recent tri-series in Zimbabwe. According to ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed:

"It is disappointing to see such wild and unfounded accusations circulating in the media and we have taken the unusual step of commenting on this speculation as we do not wish the reputation of the sport, the teams or the players to be tarnished by utterly inaccurate media reports."

Click through for the full statment.

Source: ICC

Videocon Cup: Game 4 Roundup

It's nice to find that for once the various match bulletins scattered around the web for yesterday's match are lacking in the heavy criticism of Zimbabwe that's been common of late. Yesterday's 27-run loss (the closest game of the tri-series so far) held a lot of good for the home side - although opinion is pretty much unanimous that they could still have done better.

Zimbabwe -vs- New Zealand: NZ Win by 27 Runs

Another day, another ODI, with the expectation that New Zealand would once again knock Zimbabwe to the four corners of the field in their second Videocon Cup meeting in Harare. As with India earlier in the week, though, the Black Caps weren't able to fully exploit the Zimbabwean bowling and were only able to post a modest total of 238.

Videocon Cup: Game 4 Preview

Zimbabwe face New Zealand tomorrow in the fourth game of the Videocon Cup tri-series, with even the most biased Zimbabwe supporter fully expecting a third drubbing at the Harare Sports Club. Is there any hope of an upset?

Videocon Cup: Game 1 Roundup

Zimbabwe's defeat at the hands of New Zealand yesterday has drawn the expected response from around the world, and it's not pretty reading. If you have a strong stomach, read on for more details...

Zimbabwe -vs- New Zealand: NZ Win by 192 Runs

This would have been a great game to watch if you're a New Zealand fan, but for a Zimbabwe fan it was something more akin to self-torture. Batting first, New Zealand scored a massive 397/5 from 44 overs, leaving Zimbabwe with an essentially impossible task during their innings. Read on for more details...

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