'Pub side' Eng seek SA cure

2011-03-04 14:23

Chennai - Shell-shocked England, dismissed as a pub side after their sensational three-wicket humiliation at the hands of Ireland, seek a hangover cure when they tackle South Africa on Sunday.

Andrew Strauss's team suffered probably the greatest defeat in Cricket World Cup history when Ireland, inspired by Kevin O'Brien's record-breaking 50-ball century, chased down a 328-run winning target in Bangalore on Wednesday.

It was a win which threw the race for quarterfinal places from Group B wide open.

England have a win, one defeat, as well as their memorable tie against India, to show from their three matches.

South Africa have two wins in two games after comfortable victories over West Indies and the Netherlands. 

But England off-spinner Graeme Swann has urged England to hold their nerve.

"If we start panicking and thinking we're the disgrace that half the people on Twitter thought we were on Wednesday night, there's no point in us playing," he said.

"But to win three-quarters of the game (against Ireland) and throw it away so catastrophically, that's the sort of thing that can ruin momentum."

It's in the field where England have problems.

They went into the Ireland match keeping faith with senior seamer James Anderson and fit-again Stuart Broad in place of Ajmal Shahzad.

They persisted with Anderson despite the fact the swing specialist had conceded 91 runs against India – the most by an England bowler in a World Cup match.

It seemed their faith was being rewarded with a tight early spell but, with O'Brien striking the fastest-ever World Cup hundred, Anderson ended up conceding 49 runs in 8.1 overs.

Those figures were miserly compared to Broad's none for 73 and with South Africa boasting the world's two leading batsmen in Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, England face a dilemma over the composition of their attack.

Amla and De Villiers both made hundreds Thursday in a crushing 231-run win over the Netherlands, the fourth biggest in World Cup history.

For South Africa the momentum could hardly be better as they, like England, seek a first World Cup title.

Previous campaigns have often seen the Proteas accused of choking but, with the exception of all-rounder Jacques Kallis, few of the current squad have much in the way of a lengthy World Cup history behind them.

Significantly, an attack once over-reliant on fast bowling has been boosted by the inclusion of Pakistan-born leg-spinner Imran Tahir and he could have an important role to play on a Chidambaram pitch set to take turn.

And Dale Steyn, arguably the best fast bowler in the world on current form, is quick enough to beat good batsmen through the air.

"We've got two big games coming our way, England (on Sunday) and then India, so obviously it's good to gain some confidence going into the big games," said South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

"It's terrific to have guys with pace and a wrist spinner (Tahir) who can polish off the tail. We want to stay one step ahead. We want the guys to be ready."


  • Zandberg - 2011-03-04 14:38

    Having watched the videos of Tahir, I must say thats its been a while since I last saw a legbreak, flipper and googly bowled with precision. Hopefully this will put an end to tail-enders frustrating us. And Im fairly confident in saying that Sunday we will see the return of the "not-so-little" master Kallis. Lets send them back to the pub they crawled out of, even if the pub is in Durban. Kick ass Proteas!

  • Sipho - 2011-03-04 14:40

    Pub side? haha. Methinks England need a few saffer bowlers to complement the 3 top batsmen they have..... Johan Botha might fit in there and would definitely get a spot in their starting line-up. Maybe he should run for the money and pound as his place in our teams gone for good. They might even make him captain for England.

  • Shistirrer - 2011-03-04 14:44

    Where do the England team stay when they tour South Africa? Their parents.

      Suckerz - 2011-03-04 16:15


      StaalBurgher - 2011-03-05 01:24

      Good one ;)

  • Facts - 2011-03-04 14:51

    Just keep Kallis away from power play's. Well done Amla, AB, JP & Tahir.

  • Wow! - 2011-03-04 14:52

    What this shows - is that it just takes one man to change the game. What happened to England could happen to ANY team. GO PROTEAS.

  • JP - 2011-03-04 14:58

    Hope we give the pub side a good hammering!! Their bowling is just not good enough, bat first and score 350. One change to our team, Johan Botha for Robin P. With this side we can win the Cup!!

  • spiderkzn - 2011-03-04 15:11

    Remember to bring Cup for Madiba!

  • Heini - 2011-03-04 15:29

    England have serious problems against a RAMPANT South africa!! James Anderson is going to be so shocked (when he eventually lifts his head after he bowls) to look up and see he went for 70+ again.!! Good luck trying to stop the number 1 and 2 batsmen in the world.....OH and if you do....You still have Kallis, Smith, Duminy, and Van Wyk to deal with!!! bwahahahahwahahah!

  • BrettPresent - 2011-03-04 15:34

    nervous about this one - there is nothing quite like Pom to come back strong after a whipping....very nervous.

      Bob - 2011-03-04 16:16

      Well said Brett, you are right to be nervous, I'm not saying the Poms will win I'm just agreeing with you, you write them off at your peril, ask the Irish about being written off.

  • lawnservicebobs - 2011-03-04 15:56

    I don't think we should under-estimate England. If anything we've learned that on the Indian flat tracks anything is possible. Also, they will be coming out fighting. I think it's going to be close.

  • crocowild - 2011-03-04 16:41

    England is a very dangerous team after suffering defeat at the hands of the Irish.The first three reasons for that is Andrew Strauss,Kevin Pietersen and Trott,all three South African reasons.Why did England lose?Well, the absolute amazing heroics by O Brien and brilliant support by his mates,poor fielding by England and the luck of the Irish which no team could have an answer to. At world cups there are certain magic moments and matches that stays with everyone for years to come.We were privileged to see two such matches and unfortunately for England they did not win .At least their place in history is assured. Proteas looks very good at the moment and if they keep their cool and if they don t underestimate England we can drink a toast on them come Sunday.

      Skwertno1 - 2011-03-04 18:34

      @CROCOWILD, best comment amongst all the other garbage

  • ASDEB - 2011-03-05 12:39

    We can put England away so that they have to play "must wins" against West Indies and Bangaladesh. OR we can lose this one and make Group A's time more torrid in the semis. The way I see it is win win for SA!

      Sipho - 2011-03-06 04:26

      I would prefer to win this Eng match and choke in the next India match. That loss would bring us back down to earth. And taking the favorites tag away from us, also the chokers tag which always accompanies the favorite one.... And it will leave Eng needing 2 wins --- and we wud be thro either way.

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