Bloemfontein: Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen suffered a hairline fracture to his skull while batting in the nets on Friday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Vermeulen was struck over the left eye by a rising delivery from Travis Friend and will miss Zimbabwe's opening World Cup Super Six match against New Zealand on Saturday."He's had five stitches inserted above the left eye and is ruled out for Saturday," Zimbabwe spokesman Babu Meman said. "We've been told to keep him under check for three days," added Meman, who said the Africans hoped to have Vermeulen available for selection for their next second phase match, also at Bloemfontein, against Kenya on Wednesday.
Meman said there were no other fitness concerns and that all-rounder Grant Flower was fit to bowl following a finger injury. "We are optimistic about our chances," Meman insisted. "We've had some good results against New Zealand before and on the day who knows what can happen.Meanwhile the Kiwis named an unchanged side for Saturday's match, paceman Kyle Mills and batsman Lou Vincent not considered due to injury.New Zealand all-rounder Craig McMillan warned that victory would not be a foregone conclusion despite Stephen Fleming's side being most people's favourites."We have to be a little bit wary," said McMillan.
"We realise what a huge game it is for us, but we certainly won't be taking it lightly." Both sides just made it into the World Cup's second phase and that is reflected by the small number of points they have carried through with them. They are currently propping up the table with New Zealand on four points and Zimbabwe bottom of the pile on three-and-a-half points.
That, effectively, makes Saturday's match a must-win game for both nations if they are to have any realistic hopes of reaching the semi-finals.And McMillian said a Zimbabwe win was a real possibility as they had plenty of match-winners who commanded respect. "The Flower brothers (Andy and Grant) and Heath Streak are very good players and on their day they win games for Zimbabwe by themselves," McMillan explained."They've been like us a lot of the time," McMillan added. "They've boxed above their weight and they pull off some very good results. Copyright AFP 2001