Many months ago, we discussed the format of the World Cup and the fact that, barring a complete disaster, we would face the prospect of winning three matches to become world champions. So, at least nobody can say we weren’t prepared now that we are here! It’s exactly the same for the other seven teams, all of whom will believe they have an excellent chance of winning the tournament. Each squad will look at their opposition and clearly see a way to win. There are no ‘underdogs’ left here.
There were several very good games during the qualifying round. Ireland’s victory against England had us all on the edge and England’s win against South Africa was highly entertaining. My favourite, however, was our match against India, which ranks amongst my most enjoyable ever. We learned as much from our defeat against England as we did in the victory against India.
Strength in reserve
The form of the so-called ‘reserves’ in our squad has filled us with excitement. I cannot recall being part of a squad with so much depth. In the past, whenever people spoke about our chances of winning a tournament, it was always followed by the phrase: “As long as XX stays fit.” (Usually Allan Donald!) Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Wayne Parnell looked brilliant in their only game and Colin Ingram showed what a rare talent he is.
If any team becomes afraid of making a mistake in the knockout stages then they could become vulnerable. We will play with controlled aggression. There will be small mistakes along the way but we all back each other as individuals and we know, as a team, that things won't always go perfectly but that we can recover.
Although we are all very excited about Friday's game, there is a calmness amongst the players. All you can do is trust in yourself and let nature run its course. We have the ability to win, but we know others to can. Hawkeye