Can Canada offset NZ's drive?

Published: Saturday, March 12, 2011, 10:13 [IST]
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Canada Vs New Zealand
Starting time: 9 am IST
Venue: Mumbai

Mumbai, March 12: New Zealand will be riding high after their crushing 110-run victory over Pakistan and indeed they should be - they have scaled to the top of Group A with that win. Now they will be looking to gather some momentum in their next match which is against Canada on March 13 at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

Can Canada offset NZ's drive?

The Canadians may not have a lot going for them, having won just one match from four encounters, but as their captain Ashish Bagai pointed out, they have garnered some confidence from their sole victory, even if it was against the arguably weakest side in the tournament - Kenya.

History shows that New Zealand as befitting their stature in international cricket, have got the better of the inferior side that Canada is, on the two occasions thay have played against each other - once in 2003 and the second time, in the 2007 WC. In the last match-up, New Zealand, aided by a century from Lou Vincent posted a total of 363/5 before Canada came up with an impressive 249 in reply with a blistering John Davison scoring 54 off 31 balls.

However, there have been major upheavals in the compositions of the side since then. Only Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum are the living relics for New Zealand while Bagai, Henry Osinde and John Davison remain in the Canadian unit.

In the ongoing global event, the New Zealand batting is looking especially strong with Ross Taylor leading the pack at an average of 138, followed by opener Martin Guptill with 76.50 and his partner Brendon McCullum, with 48.80. Even the latter order is looking in good shape with Nathan McCullum averaging 35.50 from two innings and Daniel Vettori 44.00 from one.

In contrast, Canada's most prosperous batsman has been Jimmy Hansra with a mere 35.50. The captain Ashish Bagai is right behind him, averaging 34.50. But other premier batsmen in their side have had a more wishy-washy time, Ruvindu Gunasekara, Rizwan Cheema and Zubin Surkaqri collectively making 48 runs per match, while the latter order has hardly contributed.

Canada's bowling however, has been more up to the mark with seamer Harvir Baidwan emerging his side's leading wicket-taker with 9 scalps from 4 matches at an average of 22.22. He is followed by fellow paceman Henry Osinde, who bears an average of 20.33 with 5 wickets to his credit from 3 matches. Meanwhile, the averages of seamer Rizwanh Cheema and leg-spinner Balaji Rao are hovering around the 26.00 mark.

However, even these efforts don't hold a candle to the successes of the Kiwi bowlers. Tim Southee has been one of the most impressive bowlers of the tournament with 10 wickets from 4 matches at a staggeringly low average of 11.20, while Jacob Oram comes in second with 13.15 followed by Kyle Mills at 18.00.

So, one will have to wait and see whether Canada can defy these numbers and put in a truly inspired show on Sunday or if the Kiwis with their batting and bowling might, will shirk off worries of an upset, prevail and stay at the top of the table.

Oneindia Cricket

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