Kevin Pietersen may have once disdainfully reverse-swept Muttiah Muralitharan for six, but that hasn’t lessened his respect for him ahead of the Super Eights game on Wednesday. Pietersen’s extraordinary shot during a century in last year’s Edgbaston Test will live long in the memory of all who saw it.
Now England will hope for similar heroics when they face Sri Lanka in Antigua on Wednesday. “It’s just a case of watching the ball, trying to pick him and trying to hit your areas when you’re facing Murali because he’s a special bowler,” Pietersen, the No. 1 ODI batsman, said.
“Murali doesn’t say a lot, he just winds you up and winds you up because he knows he’s going to get you out. He just smiles and laughs. He’s a really happy guy, a nice guy - I call him the silent assassin - he has so much talk on the cricket ball he doesn’t have to say much.”
Pietersen, 26, said Muralitharan was even trickier to cope with than Shane Warne. “He’s a true great of the game,” he said. “Muralitharan is the hardest bowler in the world to face, definitely - even more difficult than Warne.”
England’s bid for a World Cup semi-final spot is about to enter a potentially decisive few days. After the Sri Lanka match they take on Australia in Antigua on Sunday. Having failed to carry through any points after losing to New Zealand in the first round, England know that two defeats this week will all but end their World Cup challenge.
“It’s a massive week for us,” Pietersen said. “We cannot finish on Sunday with no points from these two games. I know there is a small mathematical chance of going through if we win the last three games, but we’ve got to get at least another two points out of this week and the guys are upbeat about it.
“It’s clear how hard we’re all training. There is no laughing, no joking out there. There is still enjoyment at what we’re doing but there is a lot of hard work going in.
“We’ve had a good chat about intensity and we need to have our fingers on the pulse this week. The other day against Ireland we got six wickets and then the last few batters scored a load of runs. The intensity dropped off a bit, but that is natural. Against Sri Lanka or Australia you cannot slip up for five or ten overs in the one-day game, you’ve got to nail the full 100 overs.”
Source:Cricket WorldcupMore on:Australia, england, Kevin Pietersen, New Zealand, ODIs, Sri Lanka, Super Eights, World Cup
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 and is filed under Cricket.
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