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Kenya make Aussies sweat

NEW DELHI, India, March 14 – Kenya made Australia toil on Sunday despite losing by 60 runs to the defending Cricket World Cup champions in Bangalore.

The trans-Tasman neighbours joined Sri Lanka in qualifying from Group A with Pakistan poised to complete the four qualifiers from the pool with victory over Zimbabwe on Monday.

Michael Clarke hit 93, the returning Michael Hussey made 54 while opener Brad Haddin contributed 65 as Australia racked up 324 for 6.

In reply, Kenya, who have lost all five matches, finished on 264-6 with Collins Obuya making an unbeaten 98 and Tanmay Mishra, with 72, making sure Ricky Ponting’s side endured a frustrating day in the field.

"Bit of rust on the team today, even with the batting," said Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, whose team had not had a full match run-out for over two weeks after last weekend’s clash with Sri Lanka was rained off.

"We’ve done plenty of training. We needed to be out there today to blow some cobwebs off and we’ve done that," he added, praising Kenya for battling hard.

Elsewhere, in-form Ross Taylor (74) and big-hitting opener Brendon McCullum (101) helped New Zealand to victory over Canada.

New Zealand scored a mammoth 358 for 6 at the Wankhede stadium, the venue for the April 2 final, which proved too much for Canada, who ended on 261 for 9.

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Captain Ashish Bagai (84) and Jimmy Hansra (70 not out) came together to put on 125 for the fourth wicket and give the scoreboard a look of respectability.

"Our game-plan is to try and keep wickets in hand. Our strength is our lower-order batting and the power that we have," said Taylor, who was standing in as skipper for the injured Daniel Vettori.

India are still on course to make the last eight but their three-wicket defeat to South Africa on Saturday sparked accusations from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni that some players were showboating.

"In the batting powerplay, it’s important that you don’t play for the crowd, but for your country," said Dhoni.

India lost four wickets, including those of Sachin Tendulkar (111) and Gautam Gambhir (69) for 30 runs during the batting powerplay, which eventually restricted their total to 296.

Their last nine wickets went for just 29 runs.

"You need to curb your thinking. Different people have different roles and responsibilities," said Dhoni.

On Monday, Pakistan can wrap up the final qualifying spot in Group A with victory over Zimbabwe in Pallekele.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said that struggling wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and his younger brother Umar would both play.

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There has been confusion over the Akmal brothers ever since the 110-run defeat against New Zealand last week, with elder brother Kamran missing two crucial chances to dismiss century-maker Ross Taylor.

Pakistan considered using Umar Akmal, Kamran’s younger brother, as a makeshift keeper but abandoned those plans after he suffered a finger injury.

There were reports in Pakistani media that Umar had feigned injury to help Kamran keep his place, speculation denied by team management.

On Sunday Umar sprained his right ankle while playing football but Afridi confirmed the injury was not serious.

Also on Monday, Bangladesh can stay on course for qualification from Group B with victory over the Netherlands in Chittagong.

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