Sunday 8 April 2007 

Australia Ready To Take On England

Rampant Australia take on struggling England in the World Cup Super Eights on Sunday knowing a victory could severely damage their old rivals' chances of making the semi-finals.

The defending champions have won every game so far on their impressive march towards the last four while England have lost to New Zealand and Sri Lanka and looked unconvincing in wins over non-test playing nations Canada, Kenya and Ireland.

A defeat for England would mean they would have to win their last three matches against Bangladesh, South Africa and hosts West Indies but also hope other results go their way.

One of the few positives England can take into the game is the memory of their victory over Australia in the tri-series earlier this year, where they won four games on the bounce to claim the title.

"We can take a lot of confidence from the last few times we've played against them," England all-rounder Paul Collingwood told reporters.

"This will be the ultimate buzz. To play them in the World Cup, in a must-win game, this is what cricket is all about."

However, Australia captain Ricky Ponting said previous results would have no bearing on the match.

"I don't think you think about revenge, you just talk about a new game of cricket," he said.

"England deserved to win the games they won back in Australia at the end of the summer. We weren't anywhere near our best and they played some good one-day cricket. As far as I'm concerned that's forgotten about."

England will also be enthused by the performance of Ravi Bopara and Paul Nixon in Wednesday's nailbiting two-run defeat by Sri Lanka. The duo put on 87 for the seventh wicket to pull England back into the game when all seemed lost.

Changes to the line-up are expected though with the so far ignored Andrew Strauss poised to come in for struggling opener Ed Joyce.

Australia will make an alteration too, but only because of all-rounder Shane Watson's calf injury. Batsman Brad Hodge is likely to take his place.

© Reuters 2007

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