Pacific Island double-header in Auckland in lead-up to RWC

A pair of Rugby World Cup warm-up clashes among Pacific Island nations and a New Zealand Heartland XV will be hosted at Eden Park on August 31. Fans are excited to get their Rugby World Cup Final Tickets online to see live performances of their favorite team and players.

On an occasion billed as the ‘Pasifika Challenge II: The Road to Japan’, Fiji will take on Tonga while Samoa will face the Heartland XV in back-to-back games in Auckland in preparation for this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, which kicks-off three weeks later.

Pacific Island double-header in Auckland in lead-up to RWC
Pacific Island double-header in Auckland in lead-up to RWC

The series of matches follows on from the inaugural Pasifika Challenge contest in 2017, which was used as a warm-up event for that year’s British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

That year, an under-strength Wales side defeated Tonga 24-6, while the All Blacks thrashed Samoa 78-0.

This year’s follow-up edition adds to the World Cup preparation of all three Pacific Island nations heading to the tournament in September.

It was announced last month that Fiji and the All Blacks will face off in a two-match series to be played in Suva and Rotorua in July, while Samoa and Tonga have one-off matches against the Wallabies in Sydney and the All Blacks in Hamilton a week after the Pasifika Challenge.

Additionally, all three teams will compete against Japan, the United States, and Canada in the Pacific Nations Cup in the weeks preceding their clash at Eden Park.

The event also has the potential to be rewarding off the field for the financially-embattled Pacific nations, according to RNZ, as event organizers Left Field Live, an Australian-based sports rights, and entertainment company, have added a monetary incentive based on attendance figures, which will be split evenly by the Fijian, Samoan and Tongan rugby unions.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development, a branch of the Auckland Council, is involved with hosting the matches, and there is hope that fans will turn out in big numbers in a similar fashion to the way in which they have supported the likes of Mate Ma’a Tonga in rugby league in recent years.

The Pasifika Challenge II will be played during the second round of New Zealand’s amateur provincial competition, the Heartland Championship, meaning that some of the league’s best players will be unavailable for their provinces for that weekend.

It will also be played simultaneously with the Mitre 10 Cup that round, and although no teams within the Auckland region are playing at home that day, Auckland will be playing against Waikato in Hamilton at 7:35pm, meaning a scheduling clash is likely between the competitions.

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Angelo Mathews said handling pressure will be key for Sri Lanka

The former Sri Lanka skipper, Angelo Mathews, believes that overcoming pressure situations will be his team’s biggest challenge at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Cricket followers are waiting for thrilling acts of their favorite players in this year’s contest. You can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Sri Lanka, the 1996 World Cup champions and two-time runners-up, come into the tournament as the No.9 ranked ODI side. They have won only six of the 22 one-day internationals they have played since January 2018. Adding to ask is that several members of their World Cup squad are returning after a spell on the sidelines. Captain Dimuth Karunaratne himself, until last week, hadn’t played an ODI since the last World Cup.

Angelo Mathews said handling pressure will be key for Sri Lanka
Angelo Mathews said handling pressure will be key for Sri Lanka

The experienced Mathews, however, urged his side to put the past behind them and “enjoy the moment”.  “The biggest challenge will be in overcoming pressure situations,” Matthews told the ICC. “Quite a lot of us have played in England, so we know the conditions. But handling the pressure and the situations well is going to be the challenge.”

Matthews, who had captained Sri Lanka during the last edition of the multi-nation tournament, advised his teammates to embrace the challenge and express themselves with freedom.

“In a big tournament like this, you’ve got to play with freedom and embrace it, rather than putting too much pressure on yourself. Yes, it’s a World Cup, you have to perform well to win it, but at the same time, you have to embrace the challenge. If you put a lot of pressure on yourself, it adds to your burden. But try and embrace it, look at it as an opportunity to perform, to do something better for the country,” he explained.

The 31-year old veteran found himself in and out of Sri Lanka’s ODI squad last year, with concerns about fitness and form. However, he appears to have turned it around, hitting two half-centuries and one ton in his last five 50-over games, including 64 in Sri Lanka’s warm-up defeat against South Africa.

In recent months, Matthews has animatedly celebrated his batting milestones, especially in Tests, his vigor directed at his critics. But the all-rounder insisted he was not at the World Cup to prove a point about his place to anybody.

“Each game is an opportunity to better your own performance. If you do that, the team will benefit,” he said.

Matthews, who is currently Sri Lanka’s second most capped player in ODIs after Lasith Malinga, aims to pass his experience to the younger players in the team.

“My ambition is to perform and be consistent. For that, I have to look after myself in terms of physical fitness and give my absolute best … and make sure I pass on my experience to the younger players so they benefit as well,” he said.

Sri Lanka plays their second warm-up match against Australia on Monday, 27 May, before they begin their campaign against New Zealand in Cardiff on 1 June.

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Skippers guess most closely fought CWC ever

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is officially up and running and all ten captains are anticipating ‘the best tournament in history’. Cricket followers are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. You can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Captains meet the press one week before the tournament starts with England against South Africa. World number one hosts are the team to watch, according to visiting skippers

The Film Shed in London’s trendy east end played host to the official captain’s media launch of the 2019 tournament on Thursday afternoon.

And with hosts England kicking off the tournament in exactly a week’s time at the Oval against South Africa, the time for talking is almost over.

All ten teams will play each other in a new-look round-robin stage, with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals – a change in format that makes this year’s edition more competitive than ever.

Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever
Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever

And Eoin Morgan, Virat Kohli, and the ten tournament skippers can’t wait to get started, with a series of warm-up matches scheduled around the country in the next week.

England skipper Morgan said: “I don’t think anyone is head and shoulders above anyone else.

“These are the ten best teams in the world, it will be extraordinarily competitive and some quality cricket will be played so we are really looking forward to it. Every captain sitting here would lose their left leg to play in a World Cup final at the home of cricket.”

It’s something every one of us would have dreamed of as a kid.

“We are as best prepared as we can be. We just want to play that first game now.”

India skipper Virat Kohli added: “England in their conditions is the most strong side in this tournament.

“But all the teams so strong and well balanced and the fact we have to play everyone once, I think this will be the most competitive World Cup that anyone will have seen.”

Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever
Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever

Once it gets underway particularly against England and further on for the Ashes. The crowd will play a part but that is expected everywhere in the world.

“We have plans in place for that, and their squad input and output in terms of the runs they have been making has been fantastic.”

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is hoping to become the first man to lead the Proteas to a World Cup crown, after four semi-final appearances.

“We are all really excited to try out this new tournament, to play every once I think is great,” he said.

Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever
Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever

The way we use our resources will be vital, but every team has X-factor bowlers that will have a big say in the successes of the side.

“I think the bowlers will win it, the teams still in it towards the end of the tournament will be the teams that have done really well with the ball.”

Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed – who led Pakistan when they won the ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017 – is feeling confident.

“All the teams are really balanced. I think people are going to watch some great cricket,” he said.

Since winning the World Cup in 1992, making the final in 1999 here in England and the Champions Trophy in 2017, we go well in England so we are confident we will do well and challenge.

Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever
Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever

New Zealand was runners up four years ago and skipper Kane Williamson hopes his Black Caps side can go one better.

He said: “There are a few guys in the squad from the last World Cup which is great.”

But four years in between means there are a lot of new players.

“There has been of talk about rankings, favorites, underdogs but what stands out is how balanced it is. Which means anything can happen on the day which is so exciting.”

West Indies skipper Jason Holder added: It’s a very exciting format. In the past, you could play five or six games, and that could be it.

To play every side is great for us. We worked hard with the qualifiers to get here, which means it is the top ten in the world, we want to play them all and give ourselves a shot.

“The team that wins will definitely deserve it.”

Sri Lanka’s new captain Dimuth Karunaratne said: We have great experience in England, we came here early to get used to the conditions and we are in good shape, hoping to do our best.

“It is not going to be easy though. We are confident and taking it each game one by one.”

Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever
Skippers guess most closely fought CWC19 ever

Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib added: “We are excited to be here, in front of the cricket world and to play the best teams.

To present Afghanistan to the world is great and we are looking forward to it.

“There will be a huge audience at home in all the different provinces. Cricket is not just a sport now, in Afghanistan it has become something else.”

And finally Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza is confident his side can spring a surprise.

We have got a great bunch of boys, a good mix of seniors and juniors coming on.

Cricket is a game that anyone on their day can beat anybody. If we start well we can hang in there.

“We are confident that we can go well, but a lot depends on the start.”

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Shane Williams to Welcome the CWC to Cardiff at the Ultimate Delivery

The day before the first CWC game at Cardiff Wales Stadium, the city is playing host to a unique giant cricket hook relay and are calling for members of the community cricket and sporting followers alike to take part in this unique festivity event. Cricket followers are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. You can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Shane Williams to Welcome the CWC to Cardiff at the Ultimate Delivery
Shane Williams to Welcome the CWC to Cardiff at the Ultimate Delivery

The CWC is calling on the people of Cardiff to come and get complicated in a giant cricket relay on 31 May in the festivity of the first match of the tournament in Cardiff the following day.

Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams to take part in the record-breaking relay and support contestants along the way.

‘The Final Delivery’ will be hosted by CWC ambassador and Welsh rugby legend, Shane Williams. Freshly returned from taking part in the ‘Everest Rugby Challenge’ where he set a world record for the maximum match of rugby ever played, Shane is looking to break another record but in the sport of cricket: the world record for the longest cricket relay.

Starting at Cardiff Central Train Station the official game ball will go around to the Millennium Stadium, flight on the water taxi to Cardiff Bay, work its way through the Urdd Eisteddfod, catch a rickshaw back into town, pass through the arcades, up the High Street, into the Castle and out to Bute Park, journey the River Taff and inward into Cardiff Wales Stadium to be received by representatives of the New Zealand and Sri Lanka cricket sides.

Members of the public, cricket clubs, schools, and the general public will help deliver the ball as it passes along the route.

On arrival at Cardiff Wales Stadium there will be a celebration event where our Ultimate Delivery fielders can test their cricket skills, have their photo taken with the CWC trophy and have the chance to meet Shane Williams and Glamorgan County Cricket Club, players.

Rugby legend, Shane Williams said: “I am really excited to be taking part in The Ultimate Delivery and testing out my cricketing skills. I hope we can get as many people of Cardiff as possible to take part, set another record and have some great fun. What a great celebration for the CWC coming to Cardiff and Wales.”

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Peter Bradbury, said, Cardiff, is hugely proud to be welcoming the CWC to the city and to have the ball arriving in this record-breaking style with The Final Delivery will be a great knowledge for all those intricate.

“Cardiff has a strong sporting and cricket heritage and we hope ‘The Ultimate Delivery’ event will engage both the local community and traveling supporters of the Cricket World Cup. We look forward to welcoming sports fans of all ages to take part, creating a truly memorable event for the entire city,” he concluded.

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Hashim Amla speaks to the media ahead of CWC19

Hashim Amla boasts more than 18,000 international runs but He is hungry to show he still has what it takes at his third ICC Cricket World Cup. Cricket followers are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. You can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Hashim Amla speaks to the media ahead of CWC19
Hashim Amla speaks to the media ahead of CWC19

The South African batsman has been a backbone of the Proteas’ set-up for more than a decade, with 55 international centuries to his name, but a loss of form put his place in Ottis Gibson’s squad in danger on the eve of the tournament.

The right-hander missed the one-day series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, with Aiden Markram promoted to open the batting alongside vice-captain Quinton de Kock in a series the Proteas won 3-2.

Amla also missed out on the IPL and that break has refocused his mind and motivated him to sharpen his game in a bid to prove a point.

“Things happen that you don’t anticipate and I did not anticipate how things have gone recently,” he said.

“But I am a firm believer that when something happens, there is some good in it. I have had time away and now I am really looking back to wearing the green and gold again.”

I am hungrier than ever before, there is no doubt about that. I have been blessed to have this shirt for a while but the time off has made me want to come back stronger.

“This is my third [ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup] so I know what it is all about. I have a strong record in England and I have always enjoyed coming here.”

At 36, this is likely to be Amla’s last chance of lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup. His previous two appearances have ended in heartbreak at the hand of New Zealand – who beat them in the quarter-finals in 2011 and semi-finals four years later.

However, the attention on South Africa is less intense this year – with England the current top-ranked side.

The two teams will do battle in the opening game at The Oval and Amla believes their underdog status will suit South Africa.

“It is the best first game we could have asked for. We have played England recently and had some success against them, I have done well against them too,” he said.

This year, you don’t see the same big names and that is why the focus is not on us but that has some good in it.

There has not been much chat about us winning in comparison to the past but I don’t think that played a part in how we performed.

“At the end of the day, we always gave our best and played to win. The fact there has not been a lot of chat at this World Cup means there is less expectation but in the team, we think we can do well.”

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Aussies training on exact skills to counter England’s flat pitches

Aussies’ fast bowlers have been gearing up for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 with a particular training drill. Cricket followers are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. You can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Aussies training on exact skills to counter England’s flat pitches
Aussies training on exact skills to counter England’s flat pitches

The recent ODI series between ENG and PAK designated yet again that pitches in England and Wales, the venue for the World Cup, could offer plenty of runs. There were five scores of over 350 in eight completed innings, with 297 being the lowest.

With that in mind, defending champions Australia, under the supervision of bowling coach Adam Griffith, have been practicing hard at their training camp in Southampton to master their death-bowling skills.

Bowlers are largely focused on being spot-on with their Yorkers and on countering the batsmen’s trigger movement. Mitchell Starc, the left-arm pacer, revealed there was a bit of competition, with bowlers awarded points for hitting different areas.

“It was a bit of target bowling for the group. We’ve got certain cones put up for wide Yorkers either side of the stumps or trying to hit that zone,” Starc told cricket.com.au. “It’s something we’re working hard on because death bowling is something where you can win or lose a game or defend a total.”

Starc, who lit up the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with his fast, swinging yorkers, has not been a regular in Australia’s limited-overs sides in recent times as the selectors have looked to manage his workload. Having played only four limited-overs internationals since February 2018, he rediscovered his pace and accuracy during Australia’s warm-up matches against New Zealand in Brisbane earlier this month.

The 29-year-old came in for criticism for his Test bowling in the Australian home summer, but he is confident that a changed mental approach will help him regain his swing and best form during the mega-event.

 “Having three months to chat about things and have a little bit of a different approach to how I think about it, and perhaps the change of wording and what my cues are, have really helped me in coming to back to this stage,” he said.

The defending champions will play warm-up matches against England and Sri Lanka before their campaign gets underway against Afghanistan in Bristol on 1 June.

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CWC19 announces most advanced CWC Coverage to date

ICC (The International Cricket Council) today announced a stellar line up of commentators for the ICC Cricket CWC along with complete broadcast plans that will bring more than a billion followers closer to the exploit and players than ever before. Cricket followers are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. Currently, you can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

CWC19 announces most advanced CWC Coverage to date
CWC19 announces most advanced CWC Coverage to date

The last man to boost the ICC CWC, Clarke, will be creation his ICC TV commentary entrance along with some of the match’s most respected broadcasters counting Wasim Akram, Alison Mitchell, Nasser Hussain, Ian Bishop, Sourav Ganguly, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Atherton, Melanie Jones, Brendon McCullum, and Graeme Smith.

Additional big names who will commentate through the CWC contain Michael Slater, Ian Ward, Shaun Pollock, Isa Guha, Pommie Mbangwa, Mark Nicholas, Michael Holding Sanjay Manjrekar, Harsha Bhogle, Simon Doull, Ramiz Raja, Athar Ali Khan, and Ian Smith.

CWC19 announces most advanced CWC Coverage to date
CWC19 announces most advanced CWC Coverage to date

Brendon McCullum: Still the marquee occasion in our sport, I have got so many pleasant memories of CWC. 2015 was the climax after a lot of hard work and I am excited to be complicated in a different volume this time around – confidently we’ll have plenty of drama.

Nasser Hussain: “The entire of ENG and Wales is energetic with enthusiasm in hope of the massive summer of cricket ahead. This edition of the CWC abilities to be the most amusing one yet and I cannot wait to be part of this event program and witness history in the making, first hand.”

Kumar Sangakkara: This is going to be a very superior summer of cricket in England and perhaps the most modest CWC of all time. Hosts England have a great side but there are several truthful candidates and we are sure to see some remarkable cricket along the way.

Melanie Jones: “There is a strong sense of expectation for this year’s CWC between players and followers alike. The round-robin format pitting each nation against each other added with the strength of all ten sides, will no doubt result in the most inexpensive and closely fought CWC to date. Add to that the chance of first time CWC winner and it’s as thrilling as the option of numerous upsets throughout.”

Wasim Akram: The upcoming CWC has the same setup as in 1992. It is the best format as sides get more probabilities and I calculate all sides will have an equal chance to succeed for the semi-finals. A CWC comes every four years so players wait for it and do their best to give a notable performance. I hope we are going to see some stiff rivalry with the edge of the seat thrillers, high skills and supreme moments with the best players of the world on show.

Ian Bishop: “I look forward to the next few weeks with great anticipation and expectation. It’s an honor to be part of the broadcast commentary team that will bring the stories, updates, and analysis of the CWC to you wherever you are. This edition promises to be even more exciting and innovative than ever and it is a great privilege to be a part of the team that brings it to you.”

ICC TV will produce live coverage of all 48 games being played over 46 days, as well as full live coverage of all ten warm-up games for the first time.

Audiences will be preserved to state-of-the-art coverage which will comprise a minimum of 32 cameras at every match, counting eight ultra-motion Hawk-Eye cameras, front and reverse view stump cameras and Spidercam.

The first time at a CWC, the broadcast will produce 360° replays, providing by Piero which permits multiple cameras feeds to be sewed together to create a spectacular video that helps provide an in-depth study of big moments in the match.

The coverage will also be completed with a diversity of logical and visual improvements including the use of Player Following. Broadcast tools such as Hawk-Eye will be added by an in-depth cricket data analytics system to be provided by analytics app CricViz.

The drone camera providing by Batcam will also provide spectacular visuals of all venues across England and Wales. There will be a roaming Buggy Cam as well, for a ground-level view of minutes.

ICC TV is maintained by production services partner Sunset+Vine and tackle services partner NEP Broadcast Solutions. Whilst sports graphics specialists Alston Elliott have developed a contemporary styled graphics package to visualize the ever-crucial scores and statistics throughout the coverage.

Aarti Dabas, Head of Media Rights, Broadcast and Digital said: “I am excited to welcome such a brilliant team of broadcasters to ICC TV; they will bring to life the CWC for more than a billion followers around the world.

“Our focus for this event has been on carrying fans closer to cricket than ever before and our complete host broadcast plan brings this. Followers can enjoy unique visions from our commentators added by extraordinary analytics focus making this the most attractive CWC broadcast production to date.”

ICC TV has also made preparations to produce a host of extra content off the field of play, to be dispersed to its broadcast partners and other media rights partners via the ICC TV Content Delivery Service. This content will include daily player profiles, team features, match previews, venue features and other behind the scenes content, getting followers up close and personal with all the action around the CWC19.

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It’s an amusing place to play Guptill thrilled about a CWC in England

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill has supposed that he loves playing in English Condition and is eager about execution in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Cricket fans are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. Now you can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

It’s an amusing place to play Guptill thrilled about a CWC in England
It’s an amusing place to play Guptill thrilled about a CWC in England

Guptill, who has scored 652 runs in 14 matches in England, including a 155-ball knock 189* in 2013 against the hosts, likened the conditions on offer to those at home.

“I do love playing over there. It’s very similar conditions to home and you can be at ease over there and you can go out and just chill out when you’re away from cricket,” Guptill told reporters in Auckland on Wednesday, 15 May. “It’s quite a fun place to play cricket, and the fans are great over there as well.”

New Zealand will leave for England on Sunday, 19 May. Guptill, who has been keeping an eye on England’s domestic competitions, reckoned that the pitches would be favorable for batsmen, as evidenced during the ongoing series between the hosts and Pakistan.

“I guess the way the One-Day Cup’s gone over there, it’s been reasonably flat wickets and good for batting, so there could be a few high scores. But then again, at the end of the day, you’ve got to bat well to get those scores, so we’ve just got to go out there and prepare well and make sure that we come out firing.”

Guptill was among the driving forces behind New Zealand’s best-ever World Cup campaign, in 2015, when they steamrolled their way to a maiden tournament final. He topped the tournament charts, with 547 runs at an average of 68.37, and scored a record-breaking 237* – the highest individual score at the World Cup – in the quarter-finals against West Indies. He has since been one of the mainstays of the New Zealand batting unit and is aware of his role in the team.

“I’ve just got to out there and do my thing,” he said. “If it’s there, I’ll try to hit it; if it’s not, I’ll look to either block it or get off strike. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But I can tell you it’s not. It’s about working with your partner at the other end – if he’s going, I’ll try to get him on strike, and if I’m going, he’ll try to get me on strike.”

New Zealand will play two warm-up games, against India on 25 May and against West Indies on 28 May, prior to their World Cup campaign, which begins on 1 June against Sri Lanka in Cardiff.

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Aaron Finch ponder strategies to counter CWC Run Fests

Aaron Finch is ready to get creative with his bowling tactics in an attempt to counter the large totals which are expected to dominate the 2019 World Cup. Cricket fans are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. Now you can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Aaron Finch ponder strategies to counter CWC Run Fests
Aaron Finch ponder strategies to counter CWC Run Fests

The second ODI between England and Pakistan in Southampton over the weekend gave another taste of what could be to come, with 734 runs plundered in 100 overs. England made hay with wickets in hand in the closing over as Jos Buttler smashed a 50-ball century before Pakistan threatened to chase it down until the home side’s death bowling held its nerve.

While conditions won’t always be as pristine for batting as they were on Saturday on the south coast, it is expected to be a heavily bat-dominated tournament with the use of two new balls negating the chances of reverse swing and the Kookaburra hardly moving for the quick’s when it’s new.

That poses a tough set of challenges for fielding captains as they try and conjure plans to keep batting line-ups in check. One of the key areas will be taking wickets in the middle overs – it is why most sides now have a leg spinner in their ranks, as do Australia with Adam Zampa.

However, it could be that Australia’s two premiers quick’s – Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins – are left with plenty of overs available for the middle period of an innings instead of sharing the new ball or being given extended spells with it.

Australia used their matches against New Zealand in Brisbane to try various combinations with Jason Behrendorff sharing the new ball with Starc in the final match, and Cummins used as first change.

“All the trends and all the stats in one-day cricket show the last couple of years the teams that have taken the most wickets in the middle overs have been successful,” Finch said. “That’s something that we’ve identified as an area we really want to try and nail so there is talk about all those kinds of things. That will come down to the day if someone gets off to a flyer you have to keep rolling out your big guns and make sure you are looking to take wickets in the Power play.”

Away from Starc and Cummins, who are certain starters, there remains jostling to support them among Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and Kane Richardson. The trio all had two outings against New Zealand but only managed a combined 6 for 223 compared to Starc and Cummins taking 10 for 117.

“That will be dictated over the next couple of weeks, it’s not something we’ve sat down and planned,” Finch said on bowling combinations. “There are a lot of questions still to be answered but we are in a great place to do that.”

However, Finch did confirm that Zampa was the No. 1 spinner, although he did not rule out pairing him up with Nathan Lyon again, as they did successfully during the series in India and the UAE.

“Zampa’s performances in India and the UAE were outstanding on wickets that didn’t turn a huge amount but also against world-class players of spin he played exceptionally well. The reputation of Bristol [where Australia starts against Afghanistan] is that it spins, but all reports say it didn’t spin a huge amount in the latest one-day competition in England, so it’s just going to be waiting and see what the wickets produce.”

The training camp in Brisbane brought good and bad news as far as Australia’s attack is concerned, with Jhye Richardson being ruled out.

“It’s a huge loss,” Finch said. “The energy he brings, his raw pace, ability to swing the ball and get good players out on good wickets is something that will be missed. That’s not to say the others don’t, but we saw that real X-factor with the ball. I know he was really down, but he’ll pick himself up, he’s only 22. He has a long career ahead.”

The form of Starc, though, provided plenty of encouragement on his return from the pectoral injury he picked up against Sri Lanka in early February. His pace did not go unnoticed by the New Zealand batsmen and, when any modicum of movement with the white ball will be priceless, he found some swing.

“He’s proved it in big moments that he can get the job done, so really encouraging. He’s been swinging the ball the last few days which is such a valuable asset,” Finch said.

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Kapil Dev backs Kohli, Dhoni to play big role at CWC19

Kapil Dev, India’s World Cup-winning captain, believed a mix of youth and experience in a well-balanced squad would work in India’s favors at the ICC CWC 2019. Cricket fans are waiting for thrilling performances of their favorite players in this year’s tournament. Now you can book Cricket World Cup Final tickets Online.

Kapil Dev backs Kohli, Dhoni to play big role at CWC19
Kapil Dev backs Kohli, Dhoni to play big role at CWC19

Dev, who led India to their first title in the 1983 event, backed the team to reach the knockouts in this edition, going in as one of the strongest sides.

India has a great combination of youth and experience. In a way they are more experienced than the other teams, he said at a promotional event on Wednesday, 9 May. They have the right balance – four fast bowlers, three spinners and they have Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.

“Dhoni and Kohli have done extremely well for India. Both of them are unmatchable.”

Kapil Dev backs Kohli, Dhoni to play big role at CWC19
Kapil Dev backs Kohli, Dhoni to play big role at CWC19

Dev, who finished his career with 253 wickets in 225 one-day internationals to be arguably India’s greatest fast-bowling all-rounder, was all praise for the team’s pace attack.

“The four fast bowlers we have are fantastic,” he said. “The English conditions will help them swing the ball. Then players like Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah can bowl 145kph have swing and pace.”

The pacers will be backed by Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder. Since his debut, Pandya has prompted high expectations among fans that he could be a cricketer in the Kapil Dev vein. However, the veteran dismissed comparisons.

“You should not put pressure on Hardik Pandya,” he said. “He has enough talent, let him play his natural game. I don’t like anybody being compared to anyone because that puts pressure on that player.”

Naming India as one of the favorites, along with Australia and England, with New Zealand and West Indies as the dark horses,

He added, “I think India will definitely finish in the top four. After that, it will be really difficult. After the semifinals, a stroke of luck alongside personal and team performance will determine who goes forward.”

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