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England's Bopara so nearly the hero
Mark Meadows | April 05, 2007 11:22 IST
Ravi Bopara's selection had been questioned before Wednesday's World Cup Super Eights clash with Sri Lanka but the England player silenced his doubters with a knock that so nearly clinched victory.
The 21-year-old hit 52 before being bowled off the last ball of the innings trying to hit three to give England an unlikely win.
England lost by an agonising two runs and despite the late drama, Bopara said he felt calm in the middle.
"I don't get too emotional about the situation," he told a news conference. "I just went out there and tried to play normally. I'm gutted we didn't get over the line."
Bopara, who has only amassed five one-day caps, was a surprise pick in England's World Cup squad as an exciting all-rounder.
However, he did not bowl in Friday's win over Ireland and there were calls for him to be dropped to allow established batsman Andrew Strauss to take his place.
Bopara's innings though has shown he can be a battler down the order late on, a point reaffirmed by his gamble to go for the win at the end instead of settling for a tie with a clip through a gap for two.
"If you go for a tie you could end up losing, if you go for a win you could end up tying so I was going for the win," he said.
Bopara also displayed maturity by refusing to criticise Dilhara Fernando for stopping his run up on the last ball, as if to put the England man off.
"I'm not sure what he was trying to do. I can't stop him from stopping. I didn't think too much of it," he added.
England probably now have to beat defending champions Australia on Sunday or top-ranked South Africa on April 17 to have a realistic chance of making the semi-finals.
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