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Clash Of Down Under Set To Ignite


Defending champions Australia take on New Zealand in what is traditionally a clash of epic proportions.

The earthquake in Christchurch is bound to rattle the New Zealand team, but at the same time the tragic event should spur them to take on their trans-Tasman rivals.

The fixture at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Jamtha has been given the status of the annual Chappell-Hadlee Trophy as a mark of respect for 98 victims, who lost their lives in the recent earthquake that struck Christchurch.

Dayle Hadlee and Ian Chappell will be present at the game to present the trophy to the winning captain.

“The greatest thing we can do is beat Australia to hopefully help bring a little relief for the people who are going through such a rough time at home. Guys will be thinking about wives and children at home who are dealing with the aftermath. It might be a distraction, it will be a testing time,” said Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori.

Both teams have started the World Cup in style. New Zealand defeated Kenya by 10 wickets in their opening game, while Australia demolished Zimbabwe by 91 runs.

The pitch here will favour the batsmen, with nearly 600 runs were scored in England-Netherlands clash, but spinners will have something for them as well.

Australia's main spinner Jason Kreza has some fond memories of this ground as he took eight wickets on his Test debut here in 2008.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Jesse Ryder, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 James Franklin, 6 Scott Stryis, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Hamish Bennett, 11 Tim Southee

Australia (probable) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Steve Smith, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Jason Krezja, 10 Brett Lee, 11 Shaun Tait.

Australia’s bowling is led by ageing campaigner, Brett Lee, who is scripting a remarkable comeback.

Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke, who had a horrid run during the Ashes, showed signs of returning to form with a 58 off 55 deliveries against minnows Zimbabwe. Much will depend on Clarke, if Australia are to handle New Zealand's spin attack of captain Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum.

Australia's pace battery comprising Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait and Shane Watson are likely to unsettle the Black Caps, who have won just three of their last 17 matches.

For New Zealand- their batting line-up looks strong with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor and Scott Styris; however it’s their bowling depth that looks weak. 

Nathan McCullum is not a bowler who frightens the top order, but he could play a crucial role if Vettori decides to give him the new ball. He is accurate and spins the ball just enough to pose problems.

On the batting front, the ‘usual suspects’ of Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum are the men to watch for the Black Caps.

Face-to-face stat: Australiahas faced New Zealand 123 times and has won 84 games. In India, these two teams have played against each other seven times, with Australia victorious in all seven.

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