Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 26th 2015 Contents A68
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 26, 2015
AUCKLAND---Daniel Vettori says it s
"pretty obvious" he ll play his last
one-day international for New
Zealand in Sunday s Cricket World
Vettori flew from to Melbourne with
his teammates yesterday to prepare
for the final against the winner of
today s match between Australia and
He will play his 295th one-dayer
for New Zealand at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground on Sunday, 18 years
and four days since he played his first.
Vettori made his debut for New
Zealand against Sri Lanka in 1997,
aged 18. He has since taken 305 wick-
ets and scored more than 2,200 one-
day runs and will retire, aged 36, as
New Zealand s most-capped player.
Vettori said: "it s not what I m
thinking about. It s about enjoying
the game, enjoying the build-up to a
World Cup final." (Cricinfo)
Vettori to play valedictory match in final
SYDNEY---Acrimony is omnipresent
now whenever Australia and India
clash in cricket. With a spot in the
Cricket World Cup final against New
Zealand on the line, expect the inten-
sity to peak.
India batsman Rohit Sharma said his
squad was prepared to fight fire with
fire in Thursday s semifinal against
four-time champion Australia, which
has forged its reputation on an aggres-
sive, uncompromising brand of the
India, which beat Australia in the
quarterfinals in 2011 en route to winning
the title on home soil, has been in Aus-
tralia since November but didn t win
a competitive match until the World
Cup kicked off. Since then, Mahendra
Singh Dhoni s squad has won seven
consecutive games, bowling out the
opposition every time.
But top-ranked Australia has lost
only one limited-overs international to
India at the Sydney Cricket Ground,
something of an enigma considering
it s the one venue in Australia which
tends to favour spin, and dominated
the bilateral test and ODI series leading
up to the World Cup.
Sharma, who scored a century in
India s quarterfinal win over
Bangladesh, said India s squad had the
advantage of experience in winning the
previous World Cup, and had the form
bowling attack in the tournament.
"We know how to play big games.
We ve been part of it," he said. "We
bring the best out of everyone during
those big matches."
Players from both teams were fined
and cautioned during the test series as
a result of heated on-field exchanges.
The Australians have vowed to main-
tain the aggressive approach, and Shar-
ma said the Indian players wouldn t
back down from the challenge.
"Both the teams were in each other s
faces," in the test series, Sharma said.
"As a team I believe we need to stick
to our game plans, which is coming
hard. If there s a bit of banter going
around, so be it---there will be times
when you see our bowlers, fielders,
getting right on their faces."
Michael Clarke said his team
wouldn t lose sight of the ultimate aim,
whatever happens on the field.
"There is going to be sledging, there
is going to be banter," he said. "It s
really important for us to focus on
what s important, and that is playing
our best cricket.
"It s not what you say, it s what you
do---We ll do whatever we have to do
to play our best cricket."
Australian opener Aaron Finch sug-
gested this week that the Indian squad
might be scarred by their losses to Aus-
tralia before the World Cup, an assertion
Sharma and Virat Kohli both rejected
"We re playing some different cricket
now, so what happened ... we left right
there," Sharma said. "We never wanted
to carry (that form) into the World
Cup---we know how important the
World Cup is, and we ve come out and
played some good cricket. Just a matter
of two more hurdles."
Clarke, one of three players in the
Australian squad with experience of
winning a World Cup in 2007, backed
his team to continue its recent dom-
inance of India.
"Expectation is there because we re
the No. 1-ranked team," he said. "The
reason you have that expectation on
you is because you ve performed."
Clarke s team lost once in the pool
stage---a one-wicket defeat to co-host
New Zealand in Auckland---and fended
off a fiery challenge from Pakistan in
Australia has relied on its pace battery
led by Mitchell Starc and Mitchell John-
son with support from seaming all-
rounders such as Shane Watson and
James Faulkner and part-time spinner
Glenn Maxwell throughout the tour-
nament, changing its lineup to suit the
conditions. Left-arm spinner Xavier
Doherty, the only specialist slow bowler
in the squad, went wicket-less in the
only game he has played at the tour-
nament --- against Sri Lanka at the
India has mostly stuck the same line-
up, with a balanced bowling attack fea-
turing seamers Mohammad Shami,
Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma and
specialist spinner Ravi Ashwin.
Rohit Sharma said whether or not
the SCG wicket favored spin, India had
the attack to handle the conditions.
"It doesn t matter. We ve taken 70
wickets in seven games, distributed
between spinners and fast bowlers," he
said. "We ve got everything covered in
those areas." (Cricinfo)
for World Cup
Indians perform a Hindu fire ritual during a prayer ceremony in support of the Indian cricket team on
the eve of the ICC Cricket World Cup semifinal match against Australia, in Ahmadabad, India, yesterday.
RITUAL OF FIRE
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