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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 April 2007, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Nathan Bracken column
Nathan Bracken
By Nathan Bracken
Australia seam bowler

The last week has been a week of great contrast.

Nathan Bracken relaxes in Antigua
Admiring the view from my hotel balcony in Antigua
After our 22-over game against Bangladesh, we were given three days off from training. The boys relaxed - some heading back to St Kitts, others, including me, staying on in Antigua.

It was great to relax and enjoy what Antigua had to offer, and we spent a day cruising around the island. It was amazing to see how small and how beautiful it was.

The next day, I tested out my golf skills and after seven holes I realised I should have stayed back at the hotel. Every spot where we were told not to hit the ball, I hit it there.

After that, it was back to training, preparing and focusing on the England game.

We watched video footage and polished our skills to get ready to do as our coach, John Buchanan, had spoken - to eliminate England from the World Cup.

Game day, we lost the toss and after my first over on a very, very flat wicket, we realised it could be a hard day's work.

Two early wickets helped, but Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen settled in for a big partnership.

The key point in the match was the third powerplay, taken from the 27th over which brought us two wickets and only cost 22 runs.

Australian fans celebrate during their victory against England
The Australian fans are being more vocal and more supportive to the players

It turned the game and allowed us to settle into the way we like to play.

In pressure games, one thing we pride ourselves on is competing for every ball. No free balls, no easy runs.

We want to win and we will do everything in our power to do so, as long as it is within the rules.

A big crowd, something that had been missing for most of the World Cup, gave the game an extra edge.

English fans are always great entertainment, and now the Australian fans are stepping up, being more vocal and more supportive to the players.

Having people yelling and screaming lifts you and drives you more and more to improve and try harder.

But as a player, you need no extra motivation in games like this. This is one of the biggest rivalries in cricket.

We eventually won the game by seven wickets but just as importantly, everyone contributed for us.

To win this tournament, players from one to 15 have to be ready to go at any time - sometimes it can even be a word from someone not playing in game that can help change it in your favour.

Anyway, I'll end this with a little smile, knowing that after our Commonwealth Bank Series loss, we have made England's job that bit harder to make the semi-finals.



SEE ALSO
Paceman Tait's world-class form
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Nathan Bracken column
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Australia's World Cup squad
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BBC World Cup coverage
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket


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