| PONTING: Defends batsmen for rash shots
Port Elizabeth: Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes his record-breaking side can lift the World Cup without losing a single game.
Asked if the side could stay unbeaten throughout the tournament after the two-wicket win over England on Sunday, he said: “We are good enough to do that, I think we can.
“It will take a lot of hard work going into every game but with the dedication, will and desire to do just that in this side, I am sure we will give ourselves every chance.
“We saw a lot of those qualities against England as we were written off at 48 for four but it says a lot about the team and the individuals in it that we could win.”
The victory meant they passed the West Indies’ mark of 11 consecutive one-day successes, set in the mid-1980s.
“Records like that sure mean a lot when you sit back and look at it in a little while. As a team we hadn’t spoken about it in the meetings leading up to the game but it is a nice thing and is the result of playing good cricket over a long period of time.”
Australia were indebted to Andy Bichel with the ball as he took seven for 20, the second best figures in World Cup history, and then Bichel again (34 not out) and Michael Bevan (74 not out) as they added an unbroken 73 for the ninth wicket after slumping to 135 for eight.
Ponting defended his batsmen against charges of arrogance after several of them fell to rash shots. “It was a difficult wicket and it was probably more the overall execution of shots that cost us, not arrogance,” he said.
He said their bowling had also been below par in first 10 overs. “Most of the batsmen would have been disappointed with the way they got out as we looked to play big shots at the start and we didn’t have to.” Australia will return to St George’s Park for the Super Sixes.