Defeat a wake-up call, says Windies~~ skipper

Published: Sunday, October 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Ahmedabad:West Indies captain Brian Lara said his team's surprise three-wicket defeat against England in the Champions Trophy was a blessing in disguise.

"If you have to have a hiccup, I think this is a good time to have it," said Lara after his side's first defeat in three Group 'A' matches.

The West Indies had already qualified for the semi-finals with two victories in the first two matches against India and world champions Australia. They will now take on South Africa in the semi-final at Jaipur on November 2.

"We are going to move on in a very positive manner. Even if we had won today it would have been a do-or-die situation in the next game, so we know what we have to do (against South Africa)," said Lara.

The West Indies posted a challenging 272-4 after electing to bat, with left-handed opener Chris Gayle (101) scoring his 14th century in One-day internationals and Dwayne Bravo (112 not out) his first.

"The fact that we got two century-makers and a good total on the board mean the guys are going to gain a lot of confidence. Ian Bradshaw, one of our strike bowlers, is going to come back in the next match."

Left-arm fast bowler Bradshaw, who grabbed three wickets in his team's win over India here on Thursday, was rested against England.

"If one of the top-four batsmen gets a big score, we are going to get a good total. Gayle did that. Chanderpaul got a half-century (against India) and Bravo took the opportunity today. It is going to boost our confidence," said Lara.

The West Indies captain was all praise for Kevin Pietersen, saying the England batsman was instrumental in his team's first victory in three matches.

"He (Pietersen) batted very well. He stayed there till the end and it showed that he has the commitment and the resolve to do it," he said.

Big-hitting Pietersen smashed a rapidfire 90 not out off just 86 balls with the help of one six and nine fours to ensure his team successfully chase a stiff target under lights.

England skipper Andrew Flintoff also lauded Pietersen, saying he played a big role in the victory.

"He was fantastic. We wanted someone to bat through and win a game. When Kevin went in, we had a bit of a wobble. We lost two quick wickets and then he steadied the ship," said Flintoff.

"He batted well with lower-order batsmen. His class came through. He paced his innings well. He played as we know he can. If he carries on playing like that, obviously the team is going to be stronger."

Flintoff said he was pleased with his bowling performance after coming off an ankle surgery.

"In some ways it is a bit of a relief that I have bowled in a game," said Flintoff, who last bowled in a one-day international in April against India.

"I bowled five overs in two spells. I was not at full tilt, but 80 or 85 per cent. I was pleased with it, to be honest. I was confident it would be fine."

The England captain said he was pleased with his team's performance although they were not in contention for a place in the semi-finals after losing the first two matches against India and Australia in the four-team group.

"We were playing for pride and pride is a huge thing. It is bigger than any cup. The team's pride and personal pride was at stake," he said.

"It was an important game for the team, an important part of our development as a team. We went into it treating it as a big game."

England's next big assignment is the Ashes series starting at Brisbane next month.


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