Strauss looking for response

England captain Andrew Strauss admits his side needs an immediate response when they take on South Africa after Wednesday’s shock defeat to Ireland (England 9/1 to win World Cup).

The skipper’s magnificent 158 against India gave England renewed hope of going deep in the tournament after their woeful opening against the Netherlands, but defeat to the Irish has dented their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals, with games against the West Indies, Bangladesh and the Proteas still to come (South Africa 6/5 to win Group B).

England’s batsmen once again did the business, with Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell the star turns as they rattled up 327-8 in 50 overs, but the bowling and fielding left a lot to be desired, as Ireland got home with five balls to spare and three wickets in hand.

With both India and South Africa near certainties to make the last eight, an English defeat to Graeme Smith’s men on Sunday could see them battling it out with the West Indies, Ireland and Bangladesh for the two remaining places on offer from Group B.

Strauss is aware of the importance of the next outing and has backed his players to find a way of overcoming their frailties and picking up the points when it really matters.

“The game coming up against South Africa is a huge one for us,” he said.

“Generally we bounce back well from defeat in the past whether it’s in Test cricket or one-day cricket, and we are going to have to do that very quickly and probably be very honest with each other and realise where we can improve and make those improvements very quickly.”

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