Cricket: Confident Cronje

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The Independent Online
SOUTH AFRICA open their World Cup campaign today confident they can justify their position as favourites to win the tournament.

Hansie Cronje's team go into their first game, against India at Hove, with an enviable one-day record. In September they won the first Commonwealth Games gold medal, while in November they beat the West Indies in the mini- World Cup final. They then overwhelmed the West Indies again 6-1 in a home series and went on to defeat New Zealand 3-2 in an away series. "The players have started realising they can compete with the best in the world," Cronje said. "I think we are flying in formation now."

South Africa look set to include Jonty Rhodes, who has been suffering from a sore wrist, while India will be captained by the former Derbyshire batsman, Mohammad Azharuddin.

In today's other Group A match Zimbabwe take on Kenya at Taunton. Zimbabwe's coach, David Houghton, said recently that his side have the ability to reach the semi-finals, but their spirits were dampened by pre-tournament defeats to Derbyshire and Warwickshire. Kenya are the minnows of Group A but caused the biggest surprise of the 1996 World Cup, beating the West Indies in the first round.

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