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Sunday, May 16, 1999 Published at 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK

Bangladesh prepare to upset Kiwis

Craig McMillan: New Zealand's up-and-coming star

Cricket World Cup newcomers Bangladesh prepare to make their tournament debut on Monday, insisting they are not just in England to make up the numbers.

And New Zealand had better beware because the Bangladeshis, inspired by their coach former West Indies batsman Gordon Greenidge, are aiming to pull off the first shock of the World Cup.

The last two teams in the competition to start their campaigns play each other, for the first time, at Chelmsford.

Bangladesh, who qualified for the tournament by winning the ICC Trophy for non Test-playing nations in 1997, had an encouraging warm-up period, with victories over Essex and Middlesex.

[ image: Gordon Greenidge: One of the great names of West Indies cricket]
Gordon Greenidge: One of the great names of West Indies cricket
Skipper Aminul Islam accepts his team are not up with the best teams in the world, but he added:

"If Kenya could beat the West Indies in the last World Cup, anything can happen, especially in England.

"The weather could prove to be a great help to the smaller teams."

And New Zealand are worried bad weather could harm their chances.

"There could be some rain," Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming said. "Hopefully we can have a full game."

If rain did prevent a result New Zealand would have to settle for one point against one of the weakest teams in the group, which would badly dent their hopes of a place in the next round.

Fleming's men are putting great store on Craig McMillan, who added to his growing reputation with a superb warm-up series.

The up-and-coming 22-year-old from Canterbury, finished the practice games with an average of 102 and could be one of the men to watch in the tournament as New Zealand try to rubbish the bookmakers' odds of 20-1.

"The Kiwis are more dangerous than that," said former Australian captain Allan Border. "Never underestimate them. They could be the surprise package of this World Cup."

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