ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Group B, Bangalore
Strauss stunned by England humiliation
Liam Brickhill in Bangalore
March 2, 2011
England captain Andrew Strauss admitted to being shocked and disappointed at his side's three-wicket defeat to Ireland in Bangalore, as Kevin O'Brien's record-breaking hundred highlighted lapses in the field and a worrying lack of penetration with the ball. Strauss backed his side to bounce back from the loss, however, and insisted "we're not out of the World Cup by any means".
"It was a bit of a shock for us if I'm honest, and bitterly disappointing because we did a lot of things badly in the field again," said Strauss. "We could have taken our catches. I dropped him and we dropped three other catches as well, which in the end cost us the game, there's no doubt about it.
"Our bowling could've been better, certainly in the Powerplay," Strauss added. "I think we got a bit taken by surprise there. And we just can't afford to give away that many chances on these sorts of wickets. It's very hard to get people out on very flat wickets, and if you're dropping four of them then you're asking for trouble."
England appeared to be cruising to victory after Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell all fired with the bat to boost their side to 327 for 8, and the bowlers followed that up by dismissing half of Ireland's line-up with just over 100 runs on the board. Then came O'Brien's no-holds-barred innings, which utterly changed the complexion of the match the longer it went on.
"I thought we were in a great position to win the game, absolutely," said Strauss. "We knew they had some dangerous hitters in the back end of their batting order but with the rate climbing as much as it was, it seemed that if we just kept very patient then wickets would fall, but O'Brien had other ideas. It was an outstanding innings. Just the gall he showed to take the game to us in that situation. They took the Powerplay and [he] struck the ball beautifully. He rescued them from a perilous position to one where they were up with the rate and just had to keep their heads at the end."
The inability of his bowlers to stem the flow of runs towards the end of the innings will be a particular worry for Strauss and 62 runs came from the batting Powerplay, effectively bringing Ireland back into the game. Strauss pointed out that bowlers on both sides had struggled, and would continue to do so on wickets tailored to suit batsmen.
"The wickets here have been very, very flat wickets. We've easily got 300 in two of the three games and chased 290 in the other, so the bowlers have got to expect to go for the odd run here and there. But what we don't want to be doing is haemorrhaging runs on both sides of the wicket and chasing our tail too much, which potentially we have done in those last three games, and we're going to have to improve.
"It's hard work, certainly the two wickets we've played on here haven't suited any one particular bowler. All bowlers have suffered at the hands of the wicket. But it's still a game of cricket, you've got to get more runs than the opposition team. You've got to handle those conditions better than the opposition team, and if you don't you're going to lose the game."
England remain second in their group, with three points, despite the defeat, but Group B has been thrown wide open and their next game, against South Africa on Sunday in Chennai, is sure to provide a stiff challenge.
"The game coming up against South Africa is a huge one for us. Generally we've bounced back from defeat well in the past, whether it's in Test cricket or one-day cricket. We're going to have to do that very quickly and probably be honest with each other and realise where we can improve and make those improvements very quickly. Hopefully it'll galvanise us as a team. The equation is pretty simple now: we can't afford any slip-ups and we're going to have to go out there and deliver."