Cricket: New Zealand ponder Klusener threat

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The Independent Online
THE LAST time Lance Klusener was dismissed in a one-day match was by New Zealand's Geoff Allott in February. New Zealand will hope Allott can repeat that feat today at Edgbaston when they meet South Africa in a Super Six match. Klusener's unbeaten run spans nine innings during which he has amassed a record 396 runs.

To many who derive poetic pleasure from cricketing statistics, it would be fitting if Klusener was taken again by Allott. The left-arm medium pace bowler is on the threshold of setting his own record: the highest number of wickets in one World Cup tournament.

Klusener last lost his wicket in Christchurch. Opening the innings, he faced only three balls when Allott had him caught by Roger Twose for a duck. New Zealand still lost that match, and the series 3-2. But in the next match in Auckland, Klusener made 103 not out to begin his record-setting spree. He also led South Africa to victory in another match with a last-ball six.

Armed with Klusener, South Africa are favoured to win today, especially after their victory over Pakistan on Saturday. But this win has slipped down the prestige scale after the Pakistani's second loss in a row in the Super Six against India on Tuesday.

A win would ensure South Africa a place in the semi-finals, as they already have four points. New Zealand, on the other hand, have only three. They came close to equalling South Africa's tally but were forced to share a point with Zimbabwe when their game was washed out at Headingley.

However, a victory today would take the Kiwis to the brink of the semi- finals with one more game to go against India on Saturday.