Bond out of Champs Trophy opener

New Zealand’s hopes of lifting the Champions Trophy for the second time have taken a blow before the first ball of their opening match, with star bowler Shane Bond ruled out of tomorrow’s clash with South Africa due to “stiffness and restriction” in his back.

Although worrying considering Bond’s history of back trouble, the injury is apparently a minor one and he is being left out more as a precaution than anything else.

Although Stephen Fleming admits to being disappointed by the news, he remains confident about tomorrow’s match. Pointing out that New Zealand are quite used to playing without their strike bowler, Fleming believes the pitch conditions they will face tomorrow will be helpful to the Black Caps’ bowling attack.

With Bond ruled out it appears likely that Wellington paceman Mark Gillespie may take his place. It will be a baptism of fire for Gillespie, who if he plays will be making his ODI debut in the crucial match.

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