Semi-finalists bold and focused
St Lucia - Had England decided to stop off here en route back to the UK they may have learned a further lesson about what it takes to be a World Cup semi-finalist.
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur, who helped coin the phrase “Brave Cricket” in South Africa having taken the helm two years ago believes the four sides remaining in the tournament have all found the secret.
“When I came in we looked at ways we could lead and improve in one-day cricket. It is a power-based game now. It’s all about taking risks,” said Arthur.
“That was something we identified two years ago. We thought, in order for us to become the force we wanted to be we needed to change the brand of cricket we were playing.
“And I do think some of the teams in the subcontinent, and perhaps England, are playing a far too conservative brand at the moment.
“We’ve done it, Australia have done it, New Zealand are doing it and I must say Sri Lanka do it. I don’t think there’s any coincidence they’re the four teams in the semi-final.”
Perhaps the best example of brave cricket was South Africa’s one-day-series-clinching win in Johannesburg a year ago, when they successfully chased down Australia’s world record 435.
When the odds are that stacked against you, there is no point in being worried about failure.
In his latest BBC Sport column, England's Paul Collingwood acknowledged they know one major area they need to improve.
After looking over-burdened throughout the tournament, the pressure was off last Saturday, with qualification already ruled out, and they managed to successfully chase 300 to beat West Indies.
“We need to find a way to stop putting ourselves under so much pressure to perform because, as you saw from our batting on Saturday, you can really express yourself without the fear of failure,” said Collingwood.
South Africa's approach is the antithesis of England’s plan – to keep top-order wickets in hand before building later in the innings and to build pressure by bowling defensively.
“The phrase Brave Cricket has been over-played hugely but it’s basically having the confidence to hit balls over the top, having the confidence to take sweepers on,” Arthur explained.
“When you’re bowling, instead of becoming a defence, become an attack. We’re looking to strike a lot more.”
England also seem to be very aware of what they have achieved in the past – they have been accused of resting on their laurels after the 2005 Ashes triumph.
Asked about the possibility of becoming the first ever side to secure a World Cup “threepeat”, Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting said: “Three World Cups in a row – that’s the first I’ve even heard of it since we’ve been in the Caribbean.
“There’s been lots of things – I think we’ve won 21 consecutive [World Cup] games or something. That’s hasn’t been mentioned once around the team or in meetings.”
For someone who hasn’t talked about it, he managed to pull the correct figure out of the air quite easily but he had already made his point: it's not about a third title, it's about winning on Wednesday.