Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 20 News List

New Zealand cruises past Bangladesh in cricket Super Eights

AP , BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS

Bangladesh team captain Habibul Bashar, left, fails to make a catch to dismiss New Zealand batsman Peter Fulton as wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim looks on during their World Cup Super 8s match at Sir Vivian Richards stadium in St John's, Antigua, on Monday. New Zealand beat Bangladesh by nine wickets.

PHOTO: AFP

Not even an unbeaten century by Stephen Fleming and Hamish Marshall's six off the final ball could disguise it: there was nothing super about this World Cup Super Eights game as New Zealand cruised to 178 for one in Antigua to easily pass Bangladesh's 174 all out with more than 20 overs to spare.

The fact that the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground was less than a quarter full spoke volumes for the lack of interest in the game.

The Caribbean festival of cricket badly needed a lift after host West Indies lost for the third time in a row on Sunday. Captain Brian Lara's team looks almost certain to miss the semifinals, which are still more than three weeks away.

"These are really desperate times and the guys have to pick themselves up and know what is in front of them," Lara said after a 113-run defeat to Sri Lanka followed heavy losses to Australia and New Zealand.

"We've got to get into the frame of mind of winning everything now," he said. "We didn't play like it was a crucial World Cup match."

Lara's team still has three games to play, which now look like they will become meaningless.

That meant that the World Cup needed an upset on Monday to liven things up, but it never looked like it would happen and Fleming's team now looks a strong bet to challenge defending champion Australia for the title.

The neighbors are tied with six points to top the Super Eights.

The format of this 16-team, eight-week championship was supposed to make sure that the top eight competitive teams made it to the second round, but India and Pakistan were knocked out and minnows Bangladesh and Ireland made it to the Super Eights instead.

The Irish were scheduled to face South Africa yesterday, which is celebrating being named the top one-day team in the world by the International Cricket Council.

Graeme Smith's team needs the victory to stay just behind Australia and New Zealand in the Super Eights and level with Sri Lanka.

So far, neither Bangladesh nor Ireland have scored a Super Eights point in the competition.

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