Monday, November 29, 1999

Collingwood unfazed by Australian win

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England captain Paul Collingwood said he was unsurprised by Australia's remarkable last-over win over Pakistan and believes his team are ready to beat their old rivals in Sunday's Twenty20 World Cup final.Mike Hussey hit 60 off 24 balls, including three sixes in the last over, as Australia won their semi-final against Pakistan in dramatic style, having looked out of the game."We always knew what Australia were capable of," said Collingwood, "Nothing surprised us yesterday. All we can concentrate on is our game."Australia have always been a very strong side, and they still are. It bodes well for what should be a very, very good final."Whether it had been Pakistan or Australia, we were going to have to play very, very good cricket," he said.England have marched to the final on the back of a series of impressive performances, comfortably dealing with Sri Lanka in their semi-final after winning all three Super Eight games and Collingwood said the team, which is likely to be unchanged, are relishing the biggest challenge yet."There's plenty of confidence in our side, the way we've played throughout this tournament has given us a lot of belief."We believe we've got the skills to beat any side on the day. We have surprised a few ourselves in this tournament -- and the guys are very, very positive.England have never won a global limited overs in the 35 years since the ICC began organising them but Collingwood said there were no signs of excessive pressure taking a toll."When you're going into a World Cup final there's a lot of emotion around. But the guys seem very relaxed, and know their roles very well."We haven't won anything yet -- that's the thing. We've got to a final, but it means nothing until we win a World Cup. Until we do that, we're going to keep our feet on the ground.England and Australia's rivalry, which dates back to the first official test match in 1877, adds some extra spark to a game which, after Friday's drama, is being highly anticipated."This is literally the ultimate. You've got through to a World Cup final; you're playing against the old enemy, Australia. It doesn't get much better than this," he said.England's last attempt to win a world event was the 2004 Champions Trophy, which ended in defeat to West Indies and Collingwood is the only survivor from that team.In contrast Australia currently hold the two other international limited overs titles -- the 50 overs World Cup and the Champions Trophy, but Collingwood said England's lack of big final experience would not necessarily work against them."I think if you have played in big matches it does help but there is also the cause that if you are fresh into a side and you don't know what it's all about it can sometimes help."There are a lot of guys in our side that haven't experienced finals but I really do sense the guys are ready. The guys seem very relaxed going into such a big occasion and that's a great sign," he said.(Editing by Alison WildeyTo query or comment on this story email
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