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Canada takes inspiration from B'desh win

Associated Press
Mar 12, 2011 at 07:19pm IST

Mumbai: Two occurrences well outside of Canada's control have given Ashish Bagai's squad a little boost ahead of Sunday's World Cup Group A match against New Zealand.

Bangladesh's upset two-wicket victory over England on Friday night showed yet again that the less established countries can spring surprises on limited-overs cricket's biggest stage.

That combined with the fact that New Zealand will be playing without talismanic captain Daniel Vettori, says Bagai, gives a little bit of extra hope to his underdog Canadian team.

Canada takes inspiration from B'desh win

Canada is one of the four associate countries playing in the World Cup.

"That was a great game of cricket," Bagai said of Bangladesh's win at Chittagong. "Again, a good advertisement for one-day cricket and some of the lesser nations. Gives us confidence knowing it's a one-day game and anything can happen."

Canada is one of the four associate countries playing in the World Cup, all of which are unlikely to be back for the 2015 edition after the International Cricket Council decided to cut the next tournament to 10 teams.

The Canadians came to the subcontinent with a ragtag team of foreign-born players and expats hoping to beat test member Zimbabwe, fellow associate Kenya and cause at least one upset win in Group A.

So far, they've managed a solid five-wicket win over 2003 semifinalist Kenya last Monday.

"As a target we had wins against Zimbabwe and Kenya, and an upset. We had a pretty bad batting display against Zimbabwe. We were disappointed with that, and didn't reach our target there," Bagai said. "We had a decent game against Kenya and hopefully can finish this tournament, the last two games with a consistent effort."

With only New Zealand and four-time champion Australia yet to play, Canada's best chance for another win is against the Kiwis.

The odds of achieving that lifted slightly when Vettori was ruled out after injuring his right knee in the field during New Zealand's 110-run win over Pakistan on Tuesday.

"He's got tons of experience and he leads that attack, so any team missing a player like that it would help the other side," Bagai said. "But they still have a quality side, they showed against Pakistan without him. Had a great game.

"Obviously it's a quality nation we're playing against, we're not going to take it any other way, but it does give us a bit more, I guess, confidence going into the game."

The Canadian batting lineup has been chopped and changed after the younger players selected to gain experience at the highest level and some of the veterans struggled early.

The team tallied only 122 in a 210-run loss to Sri Lanka, 123 in a 175-run loss to Zimbabwe and 138 in a 46-run loss to Pakistan before reaching 199 for five to chase down Kenya's target and win by five wickets — Canada's second win ever at the World Cup.

"First three games have been disappointing, along with the warmup games, with the bat. We talked about having some self-belief for the guys coming in, getting used to the level," the Delhi-born Bagai said. "Hopefully, the last two games, we can use the (win over Kenya) as a bit of a confidence booster for us and have some consistency with the bat."

John Davison, a first-class cricketer from Australia who has provided the backbone of the Canadian batting lineup at the last two World Cups, has struggled for form in this edition and been shifted lower in the order. He has scored just four runs this tournament. But Bagai said the move down the order has been a strategic, and likely not a permanent, move for the 40-year-old allrounder who once held the record for scoring the fastest century in a World Cup.

"I wouldn't say we've demoted John Davison. He's just got a different role to play now," Bagai said. "He's struggled with the bat up the order, (so) we thought a bit more experience toward the end, that might work.

"Look, it worked last game. We're still deciding on the batting order — there'll be guys with new roles tomorrow. They're going to have to cope with it, just for the team."

Ross Taylor, who blazed an unbeaten 131 against Pakistan in a form-reviving innings and will lead New Zealand against Canada in the absence of Vettori, pinpointed Davison as a dangerman.

Davison scored a half century and took two wickets for Canada in the 114-run loss to New Zealand in 2007. He scored 75 off 62 balls and took three wickets in a man-of-the-match performance despite a five-wicket loss to New Zealand in 2003, when he was at the height of his game.

"He's enjoyed our bowling in the past," Taylor said. "Obviously he's a handy offspinner as well. They've got some handy fast bowlers and their batsmen through the middle order are dangerous.

"In the last two World Cups they've played well against us. We've got to respect Canada as a side — we know they play with a lot of passion."

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