Champions Trophy preview: Australia v New Zealand - Brendon McCullum knows bowlers hold key to the semi-finals


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The Independent Online

Despite making things hard for themselves in chasing Sri Lanka's small total in Cardiff last Sunday, New Zealand will hope to continue the bowling prowess they displayed earlier in the match when they face Australia at Edgbaston tomorrow.

Restricting Sri Lanka, one of the most consistent batting sides in recent ICC tournaments, to just 138, was an impressive feat and replicating this form will be vital to Brendon McCullum and his side if they are to gain the victory that would let them progress into next week's semi-finals. The fortunes of these two sides could not be more contrasting as they enter their second Group A game.

Australia, the reigning champions, will be eliminated if they lose and their recent form does not make pleasant reading. Their warm-up embarrassment against India last week was followed by failure to chase England's 269 in their opening Trophy fixture and, with Michael Clarke likely to again miss out through injury, things are not looking good.

Two to watch

James Faulkner; Australia

His two wickets and 55 not out may have been irrelevant against England, but it certainly provided a feeling of hope for Australia. If other players can replicate his composure and decisiveness, the Aussies could be one game away from progression.

Mitchell McClenaghan; New Zealand

The bowler, 27 yesterday, has taken 22 wickets in just eight ODI matches, including four in Sunday's nail-biter against Sri Lanka. As well as progressing to the last four, the prospect of dumping the holders out will only motivate him to continue his form.