Who: Australia vs New Zealand
When: Saturday, October 28, 10.30am (05:00 GMT)
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Where: HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala, India
Australia skipper Pat Cummins believes his team’s Cricket World Cup clash with New Zealand will be a battle between “mates” as the push for semifinal places enters a critical phase.
“I think most of the Kiwis are pretty placid and we’re pretty similar,” said Cummins on Friday on the eve of the game taking place in the Himalayan venue of Dharamsala.
“We’ve played a lot of cricket with these guys and some of them are really good mates. If anything, it makes you want to beat your mates even more. It will be intense out there.”
Cummins said he was delighted by Australia overcoming early losses at this World Cup to India and South Africa.
They have since seen off Sri Lanka, Pakistan and then the Netherlands by a huge 309 runs.
“I think in the last few games you’ve seen us be a bit more aggressive – batting and bowling,” said the captain.
Most of the aggression in the rout of the Dutch came from Glenn Maxwell who hit the fastest World Cup century off just 40 balls in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Cummins shared a 103-run partnership with Maxwell, contributing only eight runs.
“I was lucky to be down at the other end, see it firsthand, the creativity that he seems to have, to find boundaries in just different spots, just incredible. He’s a superstar.”
‘The Australia that we know’
New Zealand’s stand-in captain Tom Latham expects Australia to be at their best in Saturday’s early match.
“They didn’t start as well as they would have liked, but the form they’ve shown in the last three games is obviously the Australia that we know,” Latham said ahead of the match.
“They fight till the end pretty much every time and every time we play each other it’s always a challenge.”
Kiwi spinner Mitchell Santner is one of the tournament’s leading bowlers, with 12 wickets at an average of under 17.
“Conditions back home don’t suit spin as much,” said Latham.
“It’s another great opportunity for him tomorrow and hopefully he can stand up again.”
New Zealand are about to finish a five-day break between games with the squad using some of that time to visit the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, at his Dharamsala base.
Asked what had been discussed with the Buddhist monk, Latham replied: “Not field placements!”
Head to head
Australia have the upper hand when it comes to clashes at World Cups over the years, winning eight of the 11 matchups.
New Zealand, runners-up in the last two World Cups, have the better record in the tournament so far with four wins from five games.
Five-time champions Australia are back on track for a last-four spot having won three matches on the trot after an unimpressive start which saw them lose their first two games.
Australia: W W W L L
New Zealand: L W W W W
Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand: Devon Conway, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra, Tom Latham (captain), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Source: News Agencies