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Hussain hails England's victory
February 23, 2003 12:07 IST
England captain Nasser Hussain described his team's upset World Cup victory over Pakistan on Saturday as a "special performance".
England crushed Pakistan by 112 runs, with 20-year-old swing bowler James Anderson taking four for 29 as Hussain's side put their Ashes hammering and the Zimbabwe controversy well behind them with their third straight win of the tournament.
"We bowled them out and they didn't get themselves out -- it was a special performance," Hussain said. "We have only won one game and we haven't won the World Cup or anything but after some very average performances this winter that was an exceptional bowling performance.
"This was very important win because they were the first major team we have played and they can beat anyone on their day."
Anderson's haul earned him his second man-of-the-match award of the tournament and continued his remarkable rise from second eleven cricketer to the World Cup's joint leading wicket-taker.
His dismissal of Yousuf Youhana first ball with an inswinging yorker put England in charge of the Group a match and was arguably the delivery of the tournament.
"I keep pinching myself and it hasn't really sunk in yet," Anderson said. "It was in the back of my mind that a few of their batters were susceptible to yorkers and the ball to Youhana came out perfectly."
England's path to the Super Sixes has been smoothed by their win at Newlands, with victory over India in Durban on Wednesday almost certain to lengthen their stay in South Africa.
The only downside for England was a calf injury to Michael Vaughan, which prevented him fielding and has left him a doubt for Wednesday's match.
"Michael Vaughan felt his calf after batting," Hussain said. "He has got a history of injuries and a history of runs and we have tried to keep those two apart. It was basically precautionary for him not to field as we knew his off-spin wouldn't come into it."
Vaughan's classy 52 gave England's innings early substance and was followed up by an unbeaten 66 from Paul Collingwood.
"The positive was Paul Collingwood's batting and the way he finished it off with the tail," Hussain said. "We haven't had anyone like that since (Graham) Thorpe was in his pomp and it's important he keeps his form."
Collingwood's effort gave Anderson a target to defend and when thr ball started swinging the Pakistan batsmen had no answer.
"It zips about under the lights but we have done a lot of homework on their batters and a lot of Duncan Fletcher's plans proved to be spot on," Hussain said. "He deserves a lot of credit for this win."
After Andrew Flintoff sealed victory by dismissing last man Shoaib Akhtar, who made an entertaining 43 from 16 balls, England embarked on a lap of honour to thank a large and vocal travelling support.
"We have been through a lot recently and for them to travel all this way and support us like that was magnificent," Hussain said. "It was like a home game. They had the shirts on and waved the flags so for us to play like that and just stroll off the pitch wouldn't have been right."
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