Preview: Australia look to seal quarterfinal berth with win over Kenya

Australia would be going all out to pull off a big win over Kenya

By Jamie Alter

Bengaluru: Mar 13, 2011

The emotions for the two teams set to face off in Bangalore probably couldn t be more contrasting. Australia, who came into this World Cup with plenty questioning their class, haven t once been challenged in victory and the one time they could have been, the match was washed out.

On the flip side, Kenya have been smashed by every team they ve come up against, and after four crushing defeats in a row, Australia really isn t the team they d want to meet. You can forgive the two for perhaps looking for a different level of opposition.

There is no way Australia will not extend their unbeaten World Cup run to 33 tomorrow, even with seven days of no action. In fact, there previous win over New Zealand was a week before the clash with Sri Lanka, which once again raises eyebrows over the scheduling of what is way too long a tournament. But winning is what Australia does best, and victory over Kenya will ensure their passage to the quarter-finals.

The main focus over this match is if and how Australia will fit Michael Hussey back into the XI. Australia s crisis man isn t sure if he will play tomorrow but has been training extremely hard to be ready if he does step in. Australia won t want to tinker much with a winning combination, so it will be interesting to see who makes way, if at all.

While Bangalore s Chinnaswamy Stadium pitch is expected to play low and slow and offer assistance to spinners, it will be sheer pace that will rattle Kenya. Kenya s capitulation to Lasith Malinga was painful to watch, and against the pace trio of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson a similar massacre is not hard to foresee.

While Kenya s totals have increased as the tournament has progressed, the fact that they were thrashed by 10 wickets, 205 runs, nine wickets and five wickets (to Canada) leaves little room for hope against the team with the best pace attack. Kenya s chances of returning to this stage in 2015 are extremely dim, and time is running out to prove to the ICC that they belong with the big boys.

Teams

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

Kenya (probable): Maurice Ouma (wk), Seren Waters, Collins Obuya, Steve Tikolo, Tanmay Mishra, David Obuya, Jimmy Kamande (c), Thomas Odoyo, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, James Ngoche.

Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and Richard Kettleborough (England).

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)

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