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Eyeing hat-trick of WC titles, Australia start campaign against lowly Ireland

Press Trust of India  |  Bhubaneswar 

Seeking a of titles, defending champions begin their campaign against minnows in here Friday.

The world number one Kookaburras would start as overwhelming favourites against 10th ranked in the Pool B match.

have won thrice -- 1986, 2010 and 2014 -- and they have been a dominant side in world for quite a few years now, though the few Olympic medals did not reflect it.

The world champions have just passed through a transition phase with some senior players like and hanging up their boots. But come Friday, would be looking to beat by a big margin to boost their confidence ahead of the remaining two pool matches.

The Kookaburras have 10 new players in their squad and of the side said they were taking the opportunity as a "challenge".

"This is completely a different group. We have now got 10 guys making their debut at For us as a team this is our first real chance of winning a World Cup as a group. We are not taking it as pressure but as a challenge," he said.

said Ireland might be ranked way below his side but it would be a mistake on their part to underestimate their opponents.

"They (Ireland) are a threat. Any team can cause an upset here. Ireland is one of those teams we have not played since early this year. So we are not underestimating them," Batch said.

"We need to take care of our own performance. They will be very competitive and difficult opponent for us."

Ireland, on the other hand, have nothing to lose and will come out without any pressure in search of an unlikely upset win.

Ireland does not boast of a rich history as Australia. Prior to the current edition, Ireland qualified for only twice -- finishing at the 12th place on both occasions in 1978 and 1990.

In other Pool B match on Friday, England will play

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 15:45 IST