Graeme Smith

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We are a tough team to beat

Yesterday's match against New Zealand was not easy but we bowled well and showed that we can do well under pressure. We have a lot of talent and skill in the side, but any team can beat any one on their day and the only way to go about things is to enjoy the cricket and play your natural game.

 

Tomorrow, we face England in the first of our Super Eight matches. We know the crowd will be behind them, so we are looking forward to what could turn out to be an exciting and intense match. We will just have to play better and take early wickets to give ourselves the best chance to get to the semi-finals. England are under a lot of pressure what with the expectations of their fans. The top three have batted pretty well, especially Kevin Pietersen, as we saw against Pakistan.

 

Ravi Bopara, too, has had a good couple of weeks, and has done his job as a pinch hitter by giving his side good starts. As I said before, we will need to bowl well in the first overs and create pressure to give ourselves a great chance. Getting early wickets will help us put pressure on the middle and the likes of Paul Collingwood and Dimitri Mascarenhas.

 

From our perspective, the IPL did a great job keeping the boys in form and in Twenty20 mode. The fact that it was also played in South Africa was another plus. So, I would say that there is no one player in the squad I can pinpoint to make the difference - each one of them is key, and can make the difference on their day.

 

Significantly, we are playing at Trent Bridge, which has the reputation of being a pretty unpredictable pitch. We will have to see whether we will be playing on a fresh one or one that has been used before. The weather, too, is cold and rainy, so we will just have to hope that we will be able to get some good cricket in.

 

We are a tough team to beat, and along with India are being seen as favourites, but we are not really worrying about that now. We just want to enjoy ourselves and perform to our potential: that is the most important thing and the key to our chances.

 

In 2007, it was really disappointing to miss out on a semi-final berth. Since then we have had a good run on the international stage, and the last few months have been great. A victory here would just be the cherry on top of the cake, and we would like nothing better than to finish the season on a high note. But, this is a world-class competition, with all the top players in the world playing, and right now we are focused on getting to the semi-finals, and performing better on the day, starting tomorrow. (Gameplan)

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