India has better chances of reaching semis: Pollock

Published: Saturday, September 21, 2002, 21:22 [IST]
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Colombo: South African skipper Shaun Pollock said on Friday he felt India had better chances of qualifying for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy One-day tournament. South Africa, who stormed into the semi-finals with a crushing 176-run win over Kenya in a day-night match, will meet the winners of Sunday's clash between India and England in the penultimate round.

"Who we play in the semi-final does not really matter," said Pollock. "We will be following that game with interest. With the track that takes a little more spin, it will probably suit a team like India more than England." South Africa lost to India in the semi-final of the tournament's previous edition at Nairobi in 2000. "We have a good team. The guys have been playing very well," said the South African captain. "All the batsmen who got to the crease did well. Up front, you cannot ask for a better stand," he said, referring to the opening-wicket partnership of 159 between Herschelle Gibbs (116) and Graeme Smith (69). "If we continue to show the same discipline, we believe we can beat either of the two sides. We are looking forward to that opportunity." Man-of-the-match Gibbs almost echoed his captain's sentiments, saying it did not matter who his team played in the semi-finals. "I don't think it makes a difference," said Gibbs. "In order to win a tournament, you have got to be able to beat any team. The side that plays better cricket that day will go through." Gibbs praised fellow-opener Smith for playing a crucial role in the big opening- wicket stand. "The opening partnership is obviously vital and credit should be given to Graeme as we worked together nicely to set up a big total," said Gibbs. "Graeme is mentally strong. He is a solid player and chooses his shots nicely. We have a good understanding which is very important in the beginning of the innings." Kenyan captain Steve Tikolo said he did not believe that his team always depended on one man for runs. Tikolo was the only Kenyan batsman among runs in this tournament, scoring 93 against the West Indies and 69 against South Africa. "I don't think we are a one-batsman team. We have some good batsmen, but things did not work out for them in this tournament," he said. "We have learnt a lot playing against the two top teams of the world."

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