Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Waugh's money on Australia

Editor's note: From The Australian

April 03, 2007
STEVE Waugh says Australia is on target to defend the World Cup and should have little trouble against "unsteady" England this weekend.
The man who captained Australia to the World Cup in 1999 said the real dangers to Ricky Ponting's team were New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
And he warned that only one bad game could undo Australia's strong campaign in the Caribbean.
"The favourite sides are playing well – Australia is going well, New Zealand look strong, South Africa and Sri Lanka – I think the winner will come out of one of those four," Waugh said.
"But it just takes one bad game by a side in the semi-finals and it is all over."
Speaking at the Laureus world sports awards in Barcelona, Waugh said New Zealand had found good form and had confidence after its three consecutive wins over Australia in the recent Chappell-Hadlee series.
And despite Australia's World Cup group victory over South Africa, Waugh still felt the Proteas could have an impact in the semi-finals.
"Sri Lanka have good momentum and they seem to have really good together side and a good coach in Tom Moody," he said.
"If the pitch is slow they can beat anyone. They'll be a tough side to beat because they have loads of match winners."
Waugh felt England, despite winning the tri-series in Australia earlier this year would not trouble Ponting's men in their Super Eights match in Antigua this weekend, despite the presence of potential match winners in Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen.
"England's win in Australia was good and they showed a lot of character, but Australia ran out of steam," Waugh said.
"I don't think they (England) played that great cricket.
"I think Australia are favourites but I've played enough one-day cricket to know that if someone performs on the day – if you get a Flintoff or a Pietersen performing to their potential, they can beat anyone – they have two genuine match winners there.
"England have been a bit unsteady at the moment they don't look like the winners to me."
Waugh also said it was good for cricket that minnow nations like Ireland and Bangladesh had made the super eight stage of the tournament.
"I'm really glad that Ireland and Bangladesh made it through," he said.
"We need more countries coming through. We can't have the same teams doing well all the time.
"I was really impressed with Ireland.
"And Bangladesh – they've got 150 million people there.
"They are part of the future of world cricket and they have to do well."

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