WC 2003 - Kiwis to target Sachin; though he is no sitting duck

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2003, 22:18 [IST]
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Centurion: New Zealand coach Denis Aberhart on Thursday said his side would target an in-form Sachin Tendulkar in its do-or-die World Cup Super Six match against India on Friday."Sachin must be due for failure - hopefully, that's on Friday. He's batted very well. If we bowl in the right areas we could put him under pressure.

"We will be doing our work to make sure he doesn't get runs on Friday," said Aberhart admitting that the batting maestro would be the biggest hurdle in New Zealand's path to the semi-final stage.Stressing that his side could not afford to lose against India, he urged the players to be focussed for the match."We have to keep focus on beating India to get to the semi-finals. They would also like to beat us - but it's not going to be a grudge match." Though the Kiwi coach termed the wickets for the World Cup games in the country as "slow and low" but expected the one at Centurion Park here to carry good bounce and pace."They have been a bit slow and low than what we thought they would be.

But this one seems better and we are looking forward to playing on it."He said though Kenya's victory against Zimbabwe on Wednesday affected New Zealand's chances, on a wider perspective he feels it can only imply good things for the game."Now it's the stage of the semi-finals and only one place is left for grabs. Kenya has played some good cricket but they have been fortunate at times as well," said Aberhart. Three teams have already qualified for the semi-finals with Australia (20), India (16) and Kenya (14) occupying the first three berths."Kenya's win has been good for cricket. Now there is someone else on the world stage and gospel of cricket is being spread," he added.

While Kenya have prospered, New Zealand is facing elimination and Aberhart could not help but reflect on the lost opportunities against Australia at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. "It was a game we should have won. We had them down at seven for 84. But our bowling resources were stretched a little bit after we got Shane Bond through with his ten overs."Our bowlers didn't bowl as well as we would have liked them to do.

Australia is kind of a team which could only be beaten if you fight them for full 100 overs, for whole game.We didn't look to play for 100 overs."Last year we showed we can beat them in their own conditions by prevailing 3-1. They are a kind of side you need to take them on rather than sit back and do things." PTI

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