WC 2003 - Vincent, Mills to miss Canada match, Astle returns

Published: Monday, March 3, 2003, 0:37 [IST]
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Benoni: Nathan Astle will play in New Zealand's last World Cup match against Canada on Monday, but two key players will sit out due to injuries. Batsman Lou Vincent and seamer Kyle Mills, who were injured during training last week, are certain to miss the early part of the Super Sixes if New Zealand qualifies. Vincent dislocated his left thumb and Mills suffered a torn hamstring, but Astle is back in place of Matthew Sinclair after missing the last game due to a side strain. New Zealand chairman of selectors Richard Hadlee said choosing the playing XI was made easier because of the injuries to Mills and Vincent. "We had only thirteen players to choose from so selecting the side was pretty straight forward," Hadlee said."Astle, who is one of our most experienced One-day batsmen, has come in to the team in place of Mathew Sinclair. This is tough on Mathew because during the game against Bangladesh the need to bolster our run rate meant some players were elevated above him in the batting order and he was denied his opportunity."However, this is a must win game for us and one where we must continue to improve our run rate. Therefore we have picked what we consider is the most effective combination to achieve this objective."Even a big win over Canada may not secure New Zealand a place in the Super Six. Even as the Kiwis take on the minnows, their attention will be focussed on another key game the same day between Sri Lanka and South Africa under the Kingsmead lights at Durban.New Zealand will want the Sri Lankans to win, otherwise it could be an early flight home for Fleming's men if the rest of the games don't go their way.As if the race for the next round from Group B was not close enough, Kenya complicated it further by qualifying for the Super Sixes with a 32-run win over Bangladesh on Saturday.That leaves Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand battling for the other two spots and the final placings are unlikely to be known before the last league match is over on Tuesday.With each team having a game in hand, Sri Lanka lead the table with 16 points, followed by South Africa and New Zealand on 12 each. The Kiwis, who lost their opening game to Sri Lanka, played their best cricket to defeat both South Africa and the West Indies.That should have been enough to see them through to the next round, except the decision to forfeit the game against Kenya at Nairobi on February 21 has returned to haunt them."All we can do is try and win our last game because we're just passengers now," Fleming said. "There are some scenarios, including run-rates, that we can try and improve but, like everyone else, we'll just have to sit back and watch events unfold."Copyright AFP 2001


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