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Last Updated:  Sunday, 16 March, 2003, 13:59 GMT
Kiwi chief slams format
Stephen Fleming
Captain Fleming came in for praise from Aberhart
New Zealand coach Denis Aberhart has criticised the format of the 2003 World Cup after his team failed to reach the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka's victory over Zimbabwe on Saturday confirmed the Kiwis' fifth place in the Super Six second round, behind Australia, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka.

"I don't think this format will necessarily find the best team in the world," Aberhart complained.

"Kenya and Zimbabwe got through [to the Super Six] because they both received points from forfeited games and were favoured by the lack of reserve days.

"And I'm not sure whether the system for carrying through points from the first round is a good idea. I tend to think everyone should start the second round afresh."

Under slightly modified rules for this tournament, teams carried points through for wins against fellow qualifiers but also a point for each win against non-qualifiers.

After New Zealand forfeited their match in Nairobi over security worries, Kenya were left needing a single win in the second round to ensure a surprise semi-final place.

Hosts South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies and England all failed to reach the Super Six.

Aberhart found positives in the form of several players
Stephen Fleming led from the front and batted as well here as I've ever seen him bat
Denis Aberhart
Pakistan and West Indies lost points due to rained-off matches while England forfeited their game against Zimbabwe in Harare.

"I don't think there's much doubt that we would have qualified if we'd played Kenya," Aberhart added.

However, he stressed the team had been let down by their batsmen in the final two matches against Australia and India.

"We got ourselves into a good position against Australia but couldn't finish it off, and it was always going to be hard after making only 146 [against India] on Friday.

"Even then we had a chance to rescue the innings, we just needed someone to take responsibility and dig in for a big one."

However, the coach found positives in the form of several players.

Captain Stephen Fleming topped the team's batting averages with 45.85, and pace bowler Shane Bond claimed 17 wickets at 17.94 apiece.

"Everyone's pretty down as you'd expect, but it's not as if it was all gloom and doom," he said.

"There were some very strong individual performances. Stephen Fleming led from the front and batted as well here as I've ever seen him bat.

"When it came to the heavyweights like Australia and India Shane Bond showed just how good he is - he's a world-class player."

Links to more New Zealand stories


India overwhelm Kiwis
14 Mar 03 |  Team Pages
Have Your Say on New Zealand
10 Feb 03 |  Have Your Say

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