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Semi-finalists bold and focused

Martin Gough | 17:51 UK time, Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Martin GoughSt 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.

AB de Villiers typifies the South African approach“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.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:37 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Ronnie Nathanielsz wrote:

The two horrendous umpiring decisions against Silva and Dilshan may eventually cost Sri Lanka the match although I hope not.

Perhaps when batsmen believe they are not out as was certainly the case of Silva couldnt there be a mechanism where the batseman can appeal the decision and the third umpire be called in to decide after viewing the tape.

What bothers me is how in one inning the umpires could make two such horrible decisions. I wonder what their explanation would be.

  • 2.
  • At 07:54 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Martin Fletcher wrote:

Australia are the favourites but SA have the ability ti beat them if they all fire at once.

  • 3.
  • At 08:13 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Stephen Minton wrote:

Great point about playing without fear and a view to the past. Those two psychological failings, I think, were the primary reason for England's Ashes capitulation. They began the series with thoughts of 2005 in their heads. As the cricket began, they were then overcome by a sense of fear which has apparently not yet been washed away. The importance of psychology in sport is often underplayed in favour of criticising tactics, selections or batting orders. But at the top level, where most competitors are extremely skilled from a technical perspective, it can be the single biggest difference between success and failure.

  • 4.
  • At 08:16 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Alan Vale wrote:

Power Plays in ODIs:

These surely benefit the batting side, yet are chosen by the team in the field.

Might it be more logical to make the whole match a 'power play' and let the side fielding choose thirty overs without restrictions?

  • 5.
  • At 08:17 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • MrGoogly99 wrote:

fortune favours the brave...........

  • 6.
  • At 10:31 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Roomeatthetop wrote:

cometh the hour cometh the man

Viva die bokke!!

As a X Sri-Lankan(Colombo Ceylon) I forcast that SRI-LANKA will get into the Finals, and It will win the World Cup by Beating The Big Mouthed Arrogant Leading Team,
The Underdog is Tipped to Win Against NewZealand And AUSTRALIA or The Mighty South Africans at The Semi-Finals and in The FInals.

  • 8.
  • At 08:16 AM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • duncan wrote:

Taufell is from Australia and Koertzen from South Africa.

With the Australia and South Africa also contesting the World Cup, the International Cricket Council's Umpires Committee had they did a bit of thinking, they could have left these two umpires out and appointed two from countries not playing the semi-finals and finals.

  • 9.
  • At 08:29 AM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Daniyal wrote:

Hi i watch cricket very often i love south africa team and i hope they get to final

  • 10.
  • At 09:35 AM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Marc A. wrote:

i feel south africa can do it today.. they need to get out there and play attacking cricket, making every ball count. i'm sure it will be a great contest right down to the line...saffa's rule!

  • 11.
  • At 10:24 AM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Shameem M wrote:

Sri lanka have a strong batting and bowling attack and have an excellent coach Tom Mody who knows the Australians better... performance from tghe sri lankans takes us back to the world cup '96 .. if its going to be a repeat with Australia coming to the finals Mody will have everything ready and Australia wouldn't know what to expect from Lasith Malingas
unorthodox bowling like new zeland on the semi finals ... Saturdays going to take us back to 1996 .. Sri Lanka Have the better chance .. Go Sri Lanka You deserve the world cup

  • 12.
  • At 10:42 AM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Siva Sivakumar wrote:

I hope and pray that the untouchable & undefeatable team(i.e.Australians) should be made to realise that they could be "touched" by the South Africans to-day.
Good Luck

That was indeed a very professional approach by Sri Lanka for what was an evenly contested game (on paper). I was very unfortunate not to
have watched the game on tv, as unfortunately
I'm in Spain and I had to rely on what was served to me by BBC and thank god for the update or I would have gone as dry as if I was in Sahara.
So back to the game, if Sri Lanka could maintain
the same concentration and application whoever
comes out winners will have a very hard battle on hand. Good luck for the boys

  • 14.
  • At 12:12 PM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Roomeatthetop wrote:

"Carpe Diem Baby"- James Hetfield

I don't believe that the reason for England not reaching the quarter finals is due to tactics or cricketing ability. Anyway South Africa are very lucky to have gone as far as they have and I don't believe they have much of a chance to win the world cup final even if they beat Australia today which they are unlikely to do.

To win matches you need top flight players and England have them but no matter how good they are they need to be motivated. It's in that direction that England slipped. The way the management treated Flintoff in respect of his night out with the boys was appalling. He's probably their best bowler, batsman and team person in the side and he was totally de-motivated by treating him like a naughty schoolboy. Management should learn to live with stars and accept that they have idiosyncracies and at times a slight dose of crazy behaviour. Feeling de-motivated and ego destruction was the reason why Flintoff's batting was appalling and he bowled without his usual fire in his belly. England have two match wiinners in their side,(and that's all you need to win), Flintoff and Pietersen. To win matches in the future let them do what they like in their social lives as long as they perform on the pitch.They're exciting personalities and that's why they're exciting cricketers. Long may they reign in the future but keep bores out of their way in managing them. Bad management of people lost England the chance to win a world cup!

Raymond Rudaizky.

  • 16.
  • At 12:52 PM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Karl Lang wrote:

"To win matches you need top flight players and England have them.."

Where have I heard this before? Was it English Football, Rugby ...?

It is the usual thing that happens in England, namely over-rating their position in world sport! It is about players playing as a team and not as indivduals.

  • 17.
  • At 01:17 PM on 25 Apr 2007,
  • Sherry Tomlinson wrote:

Well, this is D Day - The day Australia pack their bags and go HOME. yes, HOME.

Thank you sirs, job very well done. You lead by example, however, I am taking South Africa to meet Sri Lanka on Saturday in Barbados.

South Africa, you have done it before, YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN.


“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.”
>>>YEP, got that right, Sir Martin!
Sri Lanka "DID IT!"

Best regards,

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