Lara backs Windies to upset Black Caps

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Wellington, March 19 (IANS) West Indies batting legend Brian Lara says he is backing the Caribbean side to defeat co-hosts New Zealand in Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal here at the Wellington Regional Stadium.

Based on the form of the two teams, most pundits have already written off the Windies but Lara is not in that camp, reports CMC.

“I feel a bit patriotic. I see West Indies beating New Zealand in Wellington because they have the team,” the former captain said.

New Zealand dominated Pool A of the preliminary round, finishing unbeaten to top the group with 12 points. In contrast, the West Indies struggled, losing three of their six matches to finish on six points, alongside Ireland. However, they sneaked into the quarterfinals courtesy of a superior net run rate.

The key to Black Caps’ success has been the excellent new-ball pair of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, the brilliance of openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill, the solidity of Kane Williamson at No.3, and the flamboyance of the likes or Ross Taylor and Corey Anderson in the middle order.

West Indies, on the other hand, have been inconsistent in all departments and struggled with both their batting and bowling.

Lara, who quit international cricket following the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, said the West Indies needed to improve at the top of the order, adding that Lendl Simmons could prove to play a pivotal there.

“West Indies have to bat technically better batsmen at three, someone like a (Denesh) Ramdin or (Lendl) Simmons. Lendl can anchor the innings and bat for a long time,” Lara pointed out.

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