Lara exudes confidence about lifting DLF Cup

Published: Saturday, September 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Pre-tournament underdogs but the best team in the tri-series so far, the West Indies want to cap their excellent run by lifting the trophy whereas resurgent Aussies, having somehow managed their way into final, are desperate to justify their billings in the DLF Cup showdown here tomorrow.

Ahead of their final game, skippers of both the teams exuded confidence about lifting the maiden trophy.

Australia and West Indies convincingly edged India to the third spot to set up the final clash.

West Indies came into this tournament as third favorites, at least going by the ICC rankings. But the team surprised both Australia and India and skipper Brian Lara believes his team has the wherewithal to put it across the Kangaroos once again.

''Winning any tournament is a fillip to a team going forward. You don't want to come here and lose to anyone. Getting here, there weren't a lot of people that thought we would make it.

I suppose we were the third favourites in the tournament, and we got there to the final before everybody else.'' ''The pressure will be even on both teams. Both want it very badly. Australia may have tried a lot of rotation, but I'm almost certain they are going to play their best eleven out there tomorrow,'' said Lara.

Lara said that as far as his team's batting goes he is very confident of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle providing him good start.

''Shiv hasn't had a go in the last couple of games, but in the first game against Australia he batted pretty well. I don't want to inhibit Chanderpaul or Gayle if they want to play their natural game. They are both very smart, very professional, and experienced enough to know exactly how to go about it,'' said Lara.

Lara also believes that seeing off Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee in the early phase would be critical.

According to Lara, the early phase of the West Indian innings would be critical.

''They depend a lot on the new ball with Lee and McGrath. McGrath hasn't been among the wickets, but he has been keeping it very tight and creating pressure for the other guys to take the wickets. We've got to watch that very carefully. If we can see out the first ten or fifteen overs without losing a wicket, it's going to be very important,'' he said.

Lara, however, was worried about his middle order and fitness of Correy Collymore. ''They have to value their wickets out there. It seems to be working, but again match time tomorrow will tell,'' said Lara. Collymore is likely to miss out the game due to fitness problems while Jerome Taylor would be getting a chance. Lara also said that he wasn't sure of playing two spinning all-rounders.

''I'm not sure if I am going with both (Gayle and Marlon Samuels), but it's an option. The pitch has deteriorated a lot, and you saw Hogg bowl, you saw Harbhajan bowl, even (Dinesh) Mongia.

They (the spinners) are starting to play a very important part. But as you saw against India, the seamers also started putting it in the right areas,'' he explained.

Australia, on the other hand, hinted that their experiments were over and a full strength squad would take the field tomorrow.

Australia have announced the 12 leaving out Mathew Hayden, Stuart Clarke and Dan Cullen. Damien Martyn is most likely to sit out from the twelve.

Ponting indicated that Shane Watson might open once again with Katich.

Ponting said beating India in a low scoring match was excellent.

''It was a terrific win by the team last night,'' he said.

''We've managed to win just enough games to make it through to the final, and the guys have had a chance to play some cricket and worked really hard in the last couple of weeks,'' he said.

Ponting also said that he was not taking the West Indies challenge lightly.

''They were probably in position to win the first game as well and we got out of that one,'' said Ponting.

''We nearly pegged them back in the second game chasing runs, so they've been a little bit shaky chasing, which is a good sign going into a big game. It'll be nice to get a total on the board tomorrow and see if they can chase them again.

They've played well, but I think their batting relies on a couple of players and their bowling's been helped by the conditions in the series. They were the ones that deserved to get to the final first, and now that we're there, we can hopefully put on a good show,'' said Ponting.

He said chinaman bowler Bradd Hogg would play a crucial role tomorrow and said that he wasn't worried about his own form.

''I think I've actually been a bit stiff in a couple of the games. I got one that didn't bounce in the first game and was caught at short fine leg and then fine leg in the other two innings, but that's the way it goes. I feel okay, so hopefully that score can be tomorrow,'' said Ponting.

Teams (Likely) Australia: Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Glenn McGrath.

West Indies: Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara (capt), Dwayne Bravo, Wavell Hinds, Runako Morton, Dwayne Smith, Carlton Baugh (wk), Ian Bradshaw, Jerome Taylor.

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