‘Aus con­tenders for World Cup with Smith & Warner’

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - COMMENT - Agence France-presse sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

S Mand­hana Aus

from 20 balls af­ter com­ing to bat at the fall of Har­man­preet Kaur (2). But she failed to hit a four from the fi­nal de­liv­ery bowled by Leigh Kasperek as In­dia lost the match by two runs. In­dia needed 16 runs from the fi­nal over and Raj and Deepti Sharma (21 not out) raised hopes of a re­mark­able win by hit­ting bound­aries in Kuala Lumpur 2018 B’desh Syl­het 2018 2014

the first and third de­liv­er­ies but were left to hit a four off the last ball.

Cap­tain Har­man­preet Kaur said she was dis­ap­pointed at the re­sult and the 0-3 series de­feat.

New Zealand 161/7 (S Devine 72, A Sat­terth­waite 31, D Sharma 2/28); In­dia 159/4 (S Mand­hana 86, S Devine 2/21) MEL­BOURNE: Aus­tralia can suc­cess­fully de­fend their World Cup ti­tle in Eng­land this year with Steve Smith and David Warner back in the fray, new as­sis­tant coach Ricky Ponting said.

His up­beat assessment comes de­spite the mis­fir­ing team los­ing their two most re­cent ODI series at home, to In­dia and South Africa. “Ab­so­lutely, I ac­tu­ally do,” said Ponting when asked in Mel­bourne if Aus­tralia could win the World Cup.

“In­dia and Eng­land are prob­a­bly the two stand­out teams right now but if you add Warner and Smith back into that lineup, I think that team looks as strong as any. Con­di­tions in Eng­land will suit our style of play,” added Ponting, who was ap­pointed on Fri­day as as­sis­tant to coach Justin Langer for the World Cup, fo­cus- sing on the bat­ting group.

The for­mer na­tional cap­tain is hugely ex­pe­ri­enced in the one­day game, play­ing in five World Cups and win­ning three.

“I think I have a pretty good grasp on what it takes for tour­na­ments like that,” he said.

Ponting will start af­ter Aus­tralia’s up­com­ing one-day tours against In­dia and Pak­istan.

Smith and Warner are avail­able for se­lec­tion again from March 29, when their ball-tam­per­ing ban ex­pires. Cameron Ban­croft is al­ready back play­ing.

“Once we get Warner, Smith and Ban­croft back, and look­ing at the World Cup, I don’t think they’ll be too many bet­ter teams.

GETTY IM­AGES

David Warner (left) and Steve Smith’s bans are set to end on March 29.

S Mand­hana NZ Hamil­ton

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