Preview: Australia look to maintain winning run against Canada

Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke speak during an Australian practise session

By Jamie Alter

Bengaluru: Mar 16, 2011

And so Canada s tournament comes to an end and that too against Australia, yet to lose a game so far. It is yet another gross mismatch in the World Cup, but Canada can look at Kenya s display as inspiration put up a decent show. The ICC s decision to trim the tournament to 10 teams from 2015 means the Associate sides will struggle to feature, and Canada will be keen to go out with at least a competitive display against the four-time champions.

Canada continued to show sparks in their last defeat to New Zealand, with the captain Ashish Bagai hitting a brisk 84, Jimmy Hansra collecting his second fifty of the tournament, and John Davison bowling a very economical ten overs. It will be a final opportunity for the 40-year-old Davison to play in the World Cup and against his country of birth one last fling would be a touching finale.

After the struggle to defeat Kenya, Australia have addressed the batting of Cameron White and especially the spin bowling as areas that need fine-tuning. White s struggles continued into the last game, and he may be moved up the order. But the main concern would be the inability of the spinners, Jason Krejza and Steven Smith, to make inroads going into next week’s quarter-finals.

Against Kenya, Krejza went wicketless while conceding 36 from eight overs and Smith took 0 for 36. Ponting admitted to some “experimenting” in that match, just as bowling Krejza around the wicket and using Smith during the Powerplays. This match will give the pair another chance to prove their worth on a spin-friendly pitch, having failed to impress so far.

Australia are the only unbeaten team in the tournament and will look to extend that overall Cup run to 34 matches, which will put them top of Group A with nine points, a point ahead of Pakistan and New Zealand and two better than Sri Lanka.

Teams:

Australia (Probable): Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke, Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Jason Krejza, Shaun Tait.

Canada (Probable): Ruvindu Gunasekera, Hiral Patel, Zubin Surkari, Jimmy Hansra, Ashish Bagai (c&wk), John Davison, Rizwan Cheema, Khurram Chohan, Harvir Baidwan, Balaji Rao, Henry Osinde.

Umpires: Amish Saheba (India) and Billy Bowden (New Zealand).

Time: 14.30 local (09.00 GMT).

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)

Pictures Getty Images