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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 March 2007, 12:39 GMT
Beware World Cup minnows
Several former stars have questioned the value of having non-Test national teams at the World Cup but past tournaments suggest the big guns can ill afford to take the outsiders lightly.

Jon Davison celebrates his century in the last World Cup
England and New Zealand will be wary of Canada's Jon Davison
Kenya beat Sri Lanka in 2003 on their way to a shock spot in the semi-finals, while Bangladesh, Canada, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands also have previous World Cup victories to their name.

Here, BBC Sport takes a look at the outsiders in the Caribbean, and considers their chances of causing an upset.

BANGLADESH

Although the Tigers have not progressed past the group stages in two attempts, supporters expect big things this time.  

Bangladesh's World Cup highlight so far was their astonishing victory over Pakistan in 1999, but defeat to Canada in 2003 emphasised their inconsistency.  

Wins against Bermuda and Canada saw them emerge victorious from a recent warm-up series in Antigua.  

Saqibal Hasan struck 134 in the final win over Canada and he, Shahriar Nafees and Mohammad Ashraful are key for them.

BERMUDA

Coach Gus Logie has worked wonders to lead Bermuda to a World Cup bow, but they will have to pull off something very special to avoid three losses.   

They qualified for the Cup back in 2005 and have had a lot of time - and money from the government - to prepare.   

Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, though, will all expect to beat them.   

With just one win in their last eight ODIs - albeit an impressive one over Scotland - Bermuda have not enjoyed the best of build-ups for the Cup.

CANADA

In Andy Pick, Canada boast something of an 'inside man', having recruited the coach from England's Under-19 World Cup outfit on a short-term deal in 2006.   

And, with John Davison - who fired the fastest century in World Cup history in 2003 - in their line-up, Canada could provide a stern test in the Windies.   

England and New Zealand will expect to beat them, though, making Canada's match-up with Kenya an interesting tie.   

Recent wins over Bermuda, Ireland and Kenya have been offset by six defeats.

IRELAND

Ireland may have lost Ed Joyce to England, but their batting performances are not their cause for concern ahead of their first-ever World Cup.

Opener Will Porterfield averages 78.20 in ODIs and Eoin Morgan has also helped Ireland post some fine totals of late.

However, they must address their frailties with the ball if they are to make an impact in the West Indies.

Recent defeats to Scotland, Kenya, Canada and Holland hint at tough times against Pakistan and the West Indies.

KENYA

Kenya come into the tournament on a fine run of form and England and New Zealand would do well to take the 2003 semi-finalists seriously in Group C.  

After a 3-0 whitewash of Bermuda, Kenya went on to win the ICC World Cricket League tournament, beating Scotland comfortably in the final.   

In fact, they have lost just twice in their past 12 matches.

However, they did not play a top side in any of those ties, and three years of strife before this have not helped.

NETHERLANDS

All eyes will be on Australia and South Africa in Group A, but the Netherlands are confident of making their mark too.

Essex's Ryan ten Doeschate will be key, having scored four centuries in the 2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup, including a career-best 259 not out.

Three wins and two losses in the recent World League series suggest the Netherlands' one-day form is erratic.

But bowling coach Ian Pont believes his side can spring a surprise, saying: "We are targeting South Africa first up."

SCOTLAND

Scotland beat Ireland to qualify for the World Cup and, as the top-rated Associate side, believe they can make their mark in the West Indies.

In Dougie Brown and Gavin Hamilton, Scotland boast two players who have international experience for England.

And Craig Wright has proved himself a decent captain at this level too.

Recent defeats to Bermuda and Kenya upset what had been a decent run of form before that, but Scotland will start versus Australia in fine spirits.

ZIMBABWE

On the back of huge political strife, Zimbabwe are deprived of all but one player with World Cup experience and are huge underdogs in Group D.   

Zimbabwe have a World Cup record of eight wins in 42 matches, but their recent run of one win their last 16 ODIs is even more worrying.   

The omission of bright batsman Hamilton Masakadza seems a shock move, so a lot rests on the likes of Brendan Taylor.   

Their opener against Ireland will be their best chance of a victory.



SEE ALSO
BBC World Cup coverage
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket


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