England v Kenya, Group C, St Lucia March 25, 2007

Fletcher sets England's semi-finals target

AFP



Ed Joyce has returned to form at the right time with back-to-back half-centuries © Getty Images

Duncan Fletcher says England must win a minimum of four out of their six Super Eight games if they are to reach the semi-finals. The seven-wicket win over Kenya made sure England qualified for the second phase of the World Cup for the first time since 1996.

However, England will start the Super Eights at a disadvantage after losing to New Zealand, who carry two points forward for beating a fellow qualifier. "Every win is important for us, having lost that first one [against New Zealand]," Fletcher said. "The minimum amount of wins is four. We've got to go and win four games starting with that first one."

England suffered an embarrassing first-round exit in 1999 when they hosted the tournament and struggled in South Africa in 2003, when they needed to beat Australia in their final game but failed. "At previous World Cups we've stumbled early on and it's important we've gone through to the Super Eights," Fletcher said. "It was big for us. There was a lot of pressure on us to make sure we did get through on this occasion."

Fletcher was pleased with the manner of the win that ended Kenya's quest to match their path to the semi-final four years ago. "On previous occasions we probably would have had a few exciting moments," he said. "We went in there and produced some quite clinical cricket for us."

He also paid tribute to the form of Ed Joyce, who started the World Cup with a nought against New Zealand before making 66 in the 51-run win over Canada. "It's good he's got through that bad trot," he said. "He's come through with two important innings. What's nice is that he's staying in there and building big partnerships." England's first game of the Super Eights is against Ireland on Friday.