July 13, 2000

Old Trafford preview

NatWest Series

The usual cloudy skies greeted the teams at Old Trafford, and by the start the ground was only about half-full. This is a crucial match for England, who have a chance to steal a march on West Indies if they beat Zimbabwe for the first time in the tournament.

Both teams have only one point to date from the abandoned match between them, while Zimbabwe have all but clinched their place in the final with their six points from three victories out of three. An England victory today would be a major boost in their efforts to become the other finalists in their home country.

Zimbabwe retained the team that beat West Indies at Canterbury two days ago, although their squad has been strengthened by the arrival of swing bowler John Rennie to replace the injured Henry Olonga. England made one change, bringing back Andy Flintoff, despite doubts about his fitness and morale, in place of Robert Croft.

The Zimbabweans considered this to be a beautiful batting pitch and had no hesitation in batting on winning the toss.

The teams are as follows:

England: Marcus Trescothick, Alec Stewart (capt), Graeme Hick, Graham Thorpe, Matthew Maynard, Andy Flintoff, Craig White, Mark Ealham, Andy Caddick, Darren Gough, Alan Mullally.

Zimbabwe: Neil Johnson, Guy Whittall, Murray Goodwin, Alistair Campbell, Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Dirk Viljoen, Heath Streak, Paul Strang, Bryan Strang.