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Lara still harbouring semi-final thoughts

Posted by Dresonic on April 2, 2007

windies.jpgGEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – West Indies captain Brian Lara is clutching onto hopes of a semi-final spot in Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 in spite of his side’s dismal form in the Super-8 series and precarious position in the standings.

West Indies crashed to their third consecutive loss in the CWC second-round Sunday when Sri Lanka whipped them by 113 runs at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence.

With only two points and needing to make the top four to advance, West Indies are a low sixth in the eight-team standings, although they have played more games than all the other teams.

“I am an eternal optimist,” Lara told reporters at Sunday’s post-match press conference.

“We’ve got to pick up and fight because you never know what can happen,” he added.

The beleaguered Windies, who have not tasted a CWC victory since leaving Jamaica where they won all three games in the first round, have three matches remaining.
They play next on Tuesday April 10 against World No 1 South Africa in Grenada, before playing Bangladesh and England.

“We’re going to have a couple of days off and re-assess the situation. We have to be sure we are fresh for the last three matches,” Lara said.

“I know everyone’s disappointed in the dressing room and in the Caribbean, but we’ve still got a job to do,” he said.

Lara conceded that the Caribbean side will now depend on results on the remaining Super-8 fixtures, and he is hoping that the outcome of matches in the next few weeks will keep the semi-final spots open – that Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa do not seal semi-final places.

“It still boils down to us beating South Africa, Bangladesh and England to give us a glimmer of hope. No permutations can help if we don’t do that job,” he added.

After veteran Sanath Jayasuriya lashed his 25th One-Day International hundred (115) in Sri Lanka’s 303 for five on Sunday, Lara’s side plunged to 190 all out in 44.3 overs to lose by 113 runs in front of over 12,000 fans.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul (76) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (44) resisted in a 92-run fourth-wicket stand, but Sri Lanka kept control throughout and coasted to an easy win.

Lara also said they have been hurt by the hectic schedule in the past week-and-a-half, leaving the side jaded.

“It was tough, we’ve had four games in 10 days and you could feel some of the guys were a bit flat in
the outfield.”

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