ICC World Cup 2007 |
Ricky bats for England!
Afp, St George's
England's experience of fighting back to win this year's triangular one-day series in Australia could help them revive their ailing World Cup campaign, according to Ricky Ponting.
Michael Vaughan's side face South Africa in Barbados on Tuesday in a game they must win if they are to keep alive their hopes of a semifinal place.
Their form in the Caribbean has been mediocre at best. But it was a similar story in Australia when, after a 5-0 Ashes hammering by the hosts they endured a wretched start to the subsequent Commonwealth Bank one-day series.
However, they recovered to beat Australia 2-0 in the finals in February.
Australia captain Ponting, asked if England could enjoy a similar revival in the West Indies, replied: "I think there's a good chance that could happen.
"South Africa aren't playing their best cricket at the moment.
"England probably haven't played their best cricket through this tournament yet either so I can see that being a bit closer game than what a lot of people might think."
Ponting, nicknamed 'Punter' for his love of betting on greyhounds, added: "England, having been there and done it before in the Commonwealth Bank series, when everyone had written them off, know they have a chance of doing it again.
"It's a do or die game for them. If they win that, and the next one (against the West Indies on Saturday), they'll probably sneak through to the semifinals which would be a great result for them."
Although Australia beat England by seven wickets in Antigua on April 8, there was a moment at 64 for two, with Kevin Pietersen -- whose 104 was England's first individual hundred of the tournament -- and Ian Bell (77) going well in a stand of 140, when the champions were up against it.
"Our closest, hardest game so far has been the England game," said Ponting whose team were facing fellow semifinalists Sri Lanka here on Monday.
"But, saying that, we're ready for a good, hard, honest contest here and I think these conditions will probably suit Sri Lanka right down to the ground."
South Africa, who suffered a shock 67-run Super Eights defeat against Bangladesh in Guyana on April 7, lost to New Zealand by five wickets on Saturday after being sent in to bat on a seam-bowler friendly pitch under overcast skies.
But up until recently they were top of the one-day international rankings and in March last year they scored a world 438 for nine batting second to beat Australia by one wicket in Johannesburg.
"They probably didn't get the best of the conditions the other day but that can happen and they've probably lost a couple more games than I thought they would in this part of the tournament," said Ponting.
"But if they get everything right, I know how dangerous a side they can be."