We're not out of it - Strauss
Captain Andrew Strauss insists England’s World Cup campaign is far from over - but knows they must improve vastly on their performance against Ireland if they are to go all the way.
Strauss and company were on the receiving end of one of the great World Cup innings yesterday as Kevin O’Brien’s astonishing 63-ball 113 - the fastest hundred in the competition’s history - helped Ireland overhaul a target of 328 to claim a three-wicket win.
Having reduced Ireland to 111 for five in Bangalore, England appeared on course for the win which would have taken them two points clear of India at the top of Group B.
Instead, they were left to reflect on a tally of three points from three games, two of which have come against Associate nations.
As fine an innings as O’Brien’s was, defeat was particularly hard to stomach for an England side who themselves chased 338 to secure a thrilling tie with India on the same ground on Sunday.
“We were thinking we were getting some momentum after the India game,” Strauss admitted. “We’re not out of the World Cup by any means, but we need to be better than we were today.”
While the Irish continue to celebrate one of the greatest upsets in one-day international history - against their near neighbours at that - England turn their attention to Sunday’s meeting in Chennai against an imprssive South Africa side.
Strauss claims there will be much straight talking amongst the England players between now and then.
“The game coming up against South Africa is a huge one for us and generally we bounce back well,” Strauss said. “We need to be honest with each other.”
England have fallen some way short of meeting their high standards in the field thus far - five catches went down yesterday - and Strauss is aware there is room for improvement in the bowling department too after they leaked a total of 959 runs in three matches.
The batsmen have excelled, though, and Strauss refuses to blame the players' tough winter schedule - the Ashes tour began in October - for their latest setback.
“I wouldn’t say they’re tired,” he said. “Wickets have been very flat and we’ve easily got 300 runs in two games.
“We don’t want to be haemorrhaging both sides of the wicket and chasing our tail too much, which we have done in the last few matches. We need to improve.
“Our bowling could have been better. We got taken by surprise there and we can’t afford to give away those kind of chances here. They are very flat wickets and we were asking for trouble.
“It’s a World Cup and there’s pressure everywhere. That’s the way it should be in a World Cup.”