08 February 2011
Smith predicts an open, high-scoring World Cup
South Africa captain Graeme Smith feels that the upcoming ICC cricket World Cup will be an "open" tournament with the placid subcontinent pitches offering some exciting high-scoring encounters.
South Africa's Graeme Smith
Emphasising the importance of batting power-play in the mega-event, Smith said a good finishing in both the batting as well as bowling departments will be key to success in the tournament starting on February 19 in Dhaka.
"Conditions are going to be quite batter-friendly, so scores might be quite high. I think we have a solid top five and top six batting lineup. Finishing, with bat and ball, is something we need to be really strong on. I think that's going to be crucial throughout the World Cup," Smith told the weekly Sunday Independent before departing for the World Cup to be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"Power-play three, when that's taken and how that's used and how's its managed with both bat and ball, is also going to be important."
"For me, power-play three is not so much about when you take it but how you play it, the execution of it. We've spoken a lot about it and when to take it. I personally would like to take it when guys are in and there's going to be a good partnership going, rather than when guys are just starting out at the crease," he added.
Refusing to predict a winner, the South Africa skipper conceded that it would be a "very open World Cup".
"It is a very open World Cup. England have some good players who will be fit for the World Cup. Australia are always very solid performers in this form of the game. Fatigue for the two of them might be an issue. I think England are home for three days before they travel to India for the World Cup," Smith said.
"The subcontinent teams are always wily and street smart in their own conditions. They will always be a factor. Bangladesh will pull off a few surprises in front of all their fans," he added.
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