Australians believe they can remain unbeaten


  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 04 Mar 2003

PORT ELIZABETH (South Africa): Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes his record-breaking side can lift the World Cup without losing a single game. 

Asked if the side could stay unbeaten throughout the tournament after the two-wicket win over England on Sunday, he said: “We are good enough to do that, I think we can. 

“It will take a lot of hard work going into every game but with the dedication, will and desire to do just that in this side I am sure we will give ourselves every chance. 

“We saw a lot of those qualities against England as we were written off at 48 for four but it says a lot about the team and the individuals in it that we could win.” 

The victory meant they passed the West Indies' mark of 11 consecutive one-day successes, set in the mid-1980s. 

“Records like that sure mean a lot when you sit back and look at it in a little while,” said Ponting. 

“As a team we hadn't spoken about it in the meetings leading up to the game but it is a nice thing and is the result of playing good cricket over a long period of time.” 

Australia were indebted to Andy Bichel with the ball as he took seven for 20, the second best figures in World Cup history, and then Bichel again (34 not out) and Michael Bevan (74 not out) as they added an unbroken 73 for the ninth wicket after slumping to 135 for eight. 

The win means they enter the Super Sixes, taking a maximum 12 points with them after six wins. They have also beaten England 14 times in a row in one-dayers, stretching back to January 1999. 

Ponting defended his batsmen against charges of arrogance after several of them fell to rash shots. 

“It was a difficult wicket and it was probably more the overall execution of shots that cost us, not arrogance,” he said. 

He said Australia's bowling had also been below par in their first 10 overs. 

“Most of the batsmen would have been disappointed with the way they got out as we looked to play big shots at the start and we didn't have to,” he added. 

“It was always going to be toughest against the new ball on that wicket, we had to get through that period and we weren't good enough. That is an area we will have to address.” 

Australia will return to St George's Park for a match in the Super Sixes. If they maintain their winning form they will also play their semi-final at the same venue. 

“Hopefully it is not the same wicket, hopefully it is not as bad as that one,” Ponting said. “I thought that was a pretty ordinary one-day wicket, it was way too slow. 

“You don't want these bigger games decided on the toss but it could have been today as, by the end, it was pretty ordinary. 

“I have played here before and the wickets have been better than that.” 

Australia's next match will be their opening Super Six game at Centurion Park in Pretoria on Friday. Their opponents from Group B have yet to be decided. 

Their only injury doubt is fast bowler Jason Gillespie, who missed Sunday's match with continued soreness in his right heel. – Reuters 

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