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Aussies brace for Zimbabwe clash

Australia are bracing for some wild weather when they open their Twenty20 World Championship campaign against Zimbabwe in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Having spent the past week preparing in the still, warm climate of Johannesburg, the Australian squad were given a cool greeting on arrival in Cape Town on Tuesday, with temperatures in the mid-teens made even colder by massive wind gusts.

With most of Australia's games scheduled for Cape Town during the tournament, pace bowler Nathan Bracken said his team had to adapt quickly to their new surrounds.

"We've just got to get used to the conditions here," Bracken said.

"We've got a training session today, the facilities are open again here tomorrow (before the game) to do some work, so we'll just try to get as much out of as we can and get everything right for game time."

Such was the force of the wind, it took ground staff a good 15 minutes on Tuesday to cover the square as the wind continually forced the covers loose.

Rain has fallen overnight and there are more showers forecast for Wednesday with the game to begin at 6pm local time (2am Thursday AEST).

Under tournament rules, the team batting second must face at least five overs for their to be a result.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is expected to play, despite having only arrived in South Africa late Monday night.

Opener Matthew Hayden, who struggled with back spasms during the weekend warm-up matches, is also expected to be fit.

But allrounder Shane Watson, who arrived with Ponting on Monday after remaining in Brisbane for an extra week to help nurse a hamstring concern, is unlikely to feature.

While Michael Clarke is also doubtful because of a lower abdominal strain, with chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch, Ponting and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist expected to decide on the morning of the match whether to risk the batsman.

Australia play England in their second and final group game on Friday.

source - brisbanetimes.com.au
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