| England’s Alec Stewart finds himself in an awkward position after a fall during training in Port Elizabeth Tuesday. (Reuters)
Port Elizabeth: England will aim to carry on from where they left off against Holland when they take on group A minnows Namibia at St George’s park here Wednesday.
England, who forfeited four points after boycotting their opener against Zimbabwe in Harare on security grounds, cannot afford any slip-ups.
Against the Dutch, Nasser Hussain’s men won comfortably enough. But, worryingly, Holland belied their modest status by batting out the full 50 overs while England lost four wickets overhauling a small total of 142.
And Hussain knows that his team have to be utterly ruthless against the Africans.
“We are running out of chances. There’s no coming back from a loss. We have to win convincingly,” he said. “We have to look at it like a knockout Cup run.”
England are likely to stick with the same side that defeated the Dutch, a match where rookie fast bowler James Anderson took four wickets for 25, the best figures by an Englishman in one-dayers since spinner Vic Marks’ five for 39 against Canada 20 years ago.
“James did well considering he hasn’t bowled for a couple of weeks,” Hussain said.
Sunday’s match also saw pace bowling allrounder Craig White get through 10 overs despite a recent recurrence of the side strain injury that cut short his Ashes tour.
However, an England spokesman said Monday that White was fit and available for selection, their only concern being a slight bout of tonsilitis suffered by left-arm spinner Ashley Giles.
But as the Warwickshire bowler lost his place in the side against Holland to Ian Blackwell, who is a better batsman, Giles’ absence is unlikely to worry England at this stage.
As for Namibia, coached by former England one-day allrounder Dougie Brown, they will be desperate to improve on the 171-run hiding they received from Pakistan on Sunday where Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar terrorised their batsmen.
Brown, a Warwickshire teammate of both Giles and England opening bat Nick Knight, insisted his charges would not be overawed by the task in front of them.
“This is what the World Cup is all about, playing against the best teams. The boys will be ready, they’ll give it their best. If we get a good start, who knows what might happen'” But Brown is well aware of how England will approach the match.
England (from): Nasser Hussain (capt), James Anderson, Ian Blackwell, Andrew Caddick, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Ronnie Irani, Nick Knight, Alec Stewart, Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan, Craig White.
Namibia: Deon Kotze (capt), Jan Burger, Louis Burger, Sarel Burger, Morne Karg, Daniel Keulder, Bjorn Kotze, Lennie Louw, Bryan Murgatroyd, Gerrie Snyman, Stefan Swanepoel, Burton Van Rooi, Melt Van Schoor, Rudi Van Vuuren, Riaan Walters.
Umpires: S. Venkatraghavan (Ind) and Simon Taufel (Aus)
Third umpire: Nadeem Ghauri (Pak).