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Windies enter last chance saloon
Simon Evans | April 10, 2007 02:52 IST
West Indies captain Brian Lara said he plans to turn up the pressure early on against South Africa with bat or ball in the hosts' must-win World Cup Super Eights clash on Tuesday.
Lara's team lost their first three Super Eights games with defeats against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka leaving them with no further room for error although South Africa's loss to Bangladesh on Saturday had given the West Indians a lift.
"We have three games left in the tournament and if we win all three games we have a great chance of making the semi-finals and that is enough motivation," said Lara on Monday.
"The most important thing is to put the (South African) team under pressure. In the games we won in the group stage we put the opposition under pressure early on and similarly in the games we lost ... we were under pressure from the burden of the situation.
"Our aim is going to be to get our heads in front at the beginning of the game and that can create a lot of pressure for the other side."
No host team has ever won the World Cup but Lara denied his side is struggling to cope with the responsibility of playing at home and believes that a packed stadium in Grenada could help his team.
"There are advantages. I am sure the support is going to be great and that is a positive. If we can gain some momentum, I think the crowd support and the fact that we are at home will be a huge advantage," he said.
Lara said he was unconcerned about opening batsman Chris Gayle's recent slump in form, believing his side has enough quality up the order to get a competitive total on the board.
"We have to improve. It doesn't matter if Chris Gayle comes out tomorrow and doesn't score -- we've got guys who are capable of winning matches and putting partnerships together," he said.
Lara and his fellow selectors have a number of options ahead of them. While it is unlikely that Lara will drop any of his frontline batsmen, he has choices to make with regard to his bowling attack.
Left-armer Ian Bradshaw and medium-pacer Corey Collymore have been rotated with paceman Jerome Taylor being preferred as the partner to in-form opening bowler Daren Powell.
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur said his players have got over their surprise loss to Bangladesh.
"The guys hurt a lot, which is a good thing. We've had a good chat and we've put the Bangladesh game behind us. We've closed the book on it. We still hold the key to our destiny in the competition," he said.
Arthur anticipates a real battle between two sides who have a lot of pride to restore.
"I expect the West Indies to be hungry, I expect them to play with a lot of fire, to play with a lot of passion and I expect them to be desperate -- just like we are going to be," he added.
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