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Since 1st March, 1999
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Pollock relishes new equations

Johannesburg: South African captain Shaun Pollock admitted Wednesday that the rain which washed away the West Indies hopes of securing four points against Bangladesh meant his team’s World Cup destiny was firmly back in their own hands. The Windies were denied full points after their group B match in Benoni was abandoned resulting in points being shared by the two teams.

The West Indies-Sri Lanka result is no longer of the same significance as long as South Africa win and win well to boost their net run-rate. “It’s a much nicer situation to be in now than it was 24 hours ago,” Pollock told the Sapa news agency. “It certainly lifts our spirits and puts a new perspective on the next three games.

“Ultimately we have to keep on winning but it is great to have our World Cup destiny in our own hands and not have to depend on other results.”

An impressive journey

Potchefstroom: It was not just the Australians — some of the bowlers at the North West Stadium’s indoor nets had made an even more impressive journey. The youthful spinners and seamers running in to bowl to the likes of Darren Lehmann and Michael Bevan had come from Hillcrest College in Mutare, Zimbabwe, 1,500km away in order to have the dream opportunity of chancing their arms against the world champions.

They had been hoping to see Zimbabwe take on England in Harare on February 13 but a boycott by Nasser Hussain’s men put paid to that. “The boys were so disappointed when that happened,” teacher Humphrey Tate said.

But despite the problems in their famine-threatened country, the Hillcrest team and their supporters are not easily deterred and they even overcame a petrol shortage so they could fulfil their planned two-game tour of South Africa.

“One of the boys’ mothers drained the fuel from her own cars so we could travel to be here,” explained Tate. “To come here and watch these guys train and then for our lads to have a bowl at them is great.”

Elite SA guard in Kenya

Johannesburg: South Africa’s elite anti-terrorist unit flew to Nairobi Wednesday to boost security ahead of Kenya’s World Cup clash with Sri Lanka on February 24. The 43-member special task force, made up of armed police and bomb disposal experts, will spearhead security operations at the group B match, the only game Kenya will host following New Zealand’s decision to boycott their scheduled encounter in Nairobi on February 21.

“This is the first international operation of its kind,” said superintendent Charmaine Miller, police spokeswoman for the World Cup. “We have helped in cross-border operations in the past but this is the first time we have been involved in a large scale international security project involving skilled personnel, equipment and planning of this nature.”

Thursday verdict

Johannesburg: New Zealand will find out Thursday whether their request to have the World Cup pool B game against Kenya switched to South Africa has been successful.

The Black Caps have refused to play their February 21 game in Nairobi because of security fears.

The ICC executive board will meet Thursday to discuss the matter, a statement by the sport’s governing body said Wednesday.

If the ICC turns down NZC’s request, Stephen Fleming’s men, who have two wins and one defeat from their three games so far in the tournament, will be docked four points.

Mortaza sent home

Johannesburg: Injured Bangladeshi teenager Mashrafe Mortaza will be sent home and replaced by Akram Khan for the rest of the World Cup, tournament officials announced Wednesday.

Mortaza, an opening bowler, injured ligaments in his ankle during training Monday before his team’s Group B match against West Indies at Benoni.

n Australia vs Holland, live from 1.30 pm on Max n Zimbabwe vs India, highlights from 8.30 am on Max n South Africa vs New Zealand, highlights from 10 am on Max n Taking Guard, live from 12.30 pm on Star Sports

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