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Kiwis fit to face England, South Africa without Ntini

By Mark Meadows
March 16, 2007 10:43 IST
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New Zealand's injury worries have eased for their Group C clash with England later on Friday, the big World Cup game of the day.

Kiwi pace bowler Mark Gillespie is definitely out of the England match in St Lucia because of an arm problem but batsman Craig McMillan has been passed fit after being hit on the toe in the nets by team mate Shane Bond.

Meanwhile, world number one ranked team South Africa are expected to make short work of the Netherlands in St Kitts & Nevis in Group A even without their rested bowling spearhead, Makhaya Ntini, for their first match.

The seven-week long World Cup culminates in the Barbados final on April 28.

The New Zealand team will be announced at the toss with batsman Peter Fulton available too despite a broken finger.

England will also decide later which two of four seamers will play. James Anderson broke the little finger on his bowling hand on Wednesday, although he trained on Thursday.

Liam Plunkett, who impressed in England's recent tri-series win over Australia and New Zealand, appears the most likely to play, however, along with medium pacer Jon Lewis.


The England batting lineup will be the same as last week's warm-up matches, when they destroyed Bermuda before coming unstuck against Australia.

Captain Michael Vaughan only fielded for part of those matches and although he hopes to play all of Friday's match, it will be a big test for his recovering hamstring and knee.

South Africa, the world's top ranked team, will take an all-seam attack into their match against the Netherlands.

However, the team will not include spearhead Ntini, who is being rested after arriving on the island on Wednesday.

Ntini remained in South Africa to be with his wife for the birth of their second child and he did not travel to the Caribbean with the rest of the squad.

The South Africans will also leave out their only specialist slow bowler, left-arm spinner Robin Peterson, coach Mickey Arthur told reporters on Thursday.

South Africa are expected to make short work of the Dutch, who have only one full-time professional in all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate.

Rain affected both teams' training on Thursday and more showers have been forecast for Friday.

(Additional reporting by Telford Vice in St Kitts)

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