WC 2003 - South Africa needs a spark to ignite campaign: Coach

Published: Friday, February 28, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Durban (South Africa): South African coach Eric Simons on Saturday predicted his team will bounce back in the World Cup, provided someone could light the spark to re-launch the campaign.Shaun Pollock's men, who have had a lacklustre tournament so far, must defeat Sri Lanka under the Kingsmead lights on Monday to qualify for the Super Sixes.Simons said adversity would bring out the best in his team, but agreed the fielding standards needed to be improved a great deal following an unimpressive win over minnows Canada on Thursday."It was not so much the five dropped catches, but the guys felt overall there wasn't any spark in the field," the coach told a news agency."Everybody needs to pick up in that department so that we can probably pick up in the batting and bowling departments as well."South Africa has not lived up to the billing of being one of the favourites to become the first host nation to win cricket's showpiece, losing to the West Indies and New Zealand.Luck, however, appears to be turning in its favour after West Indies was forced to share points with Bangaldesh due to bad weather and Kenya pulled off a stunning upset over Sri Lanka.That the crucial game against Sri Lanka is being played in Durban is a good omen for the home side, Simons said."Lance Klusener actually said that if we could choose a venue anywhere in the world to play Sri Lanka, it would be Kingsmead," Simons revealed."We must take that positive and build on it. Nothing makes the guys pull together quite like having your backs to the wall. At the moment, there is a sense in the team that a really good performance is just round the corner."Apparently, even the weather God is doing his bit for the South African cause.A tropical storm off the East coast of KwaZulu Natal threatened to drown the event completely, meaning that both South africa and Sri Lanka would have to share two points.That would see South Africa end the pool stage with just 14 points, probably not enough to advance to the Super Sixes.But the weather bureau predicted the storm would blow away and assured that the match will not be affected.Sri Lanka is virtually assured of a place in the next round after beating the West Indies by six runs at Cape Town on Friday to move to 16 points.Copyright AFP 2001

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