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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Nathan Bracken column
Nathan Bracken
By Nathan Bracken
Australia seam bowler

The roadshow continued with Ireland, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand three important games which helped cement our spot in the semi-finals - as well as continuing our unbeaten run in the World Cup to 27 games.

Seeing as New Zealand and Sri Lanka are both in the semi-finals, we saw it as important to win these games.

And we put in a professional performance against Ireland - a match in which I was rested - with Stuart Clark playing instead to strengthen the depth of our bowling.

Nathan Bracken
Bracken celebrates the wicket of Jayasuriya
Every player has been putting their hands up at different times to help out but to win this tournament it will take all players to play well.

As we get down to the business end of the World Cup, the physical preparation gets more and more specific to what players need and psychological preparation increases as well.

Big games bring out the best in our players and you can feel the intensity rise.

Sri Lanka may have been minus three top bowlers but to us that did not make any difference. It was another chance to make a big statement and show everyone we are up for this World Cup.

We bowled well in pairs and that is something bowling coach Troy Cooley has instilled in us to work and play together and support each other.

Brad Hogg has been one of key bowlers in this tournament - every time we have needed wickets he has got them - and this has had a massive impact for us.

Getting wickets in the middle overs was something we worked hard on after the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.

It was time to step up a gear for the trans-Tasman clash against New Zealand and it was a good chance to show our talent and skill and keep our win record going.

The batters set the game perfectly for us bowlers - notching up 348-6 - and taking the game to their bowlers early is making our job very easily indeed!

Lara will never be replaced and I know it might sound funny coming from a bowler - but I am glad and privileged to have had the opportunity to play cricket against him

Nathan Bracken

New Zealand came back at us hard but it was a day when everything stuck and catches went straight to our fielders.

It must have been a huge psychological blow to New Zealand, knocking them over for 133 - and you never know that little edge could come in handy soon if we both get through our semi-finals.

On a totally different point, Brian Lara's retirement will be a tremendous loss to not only West Indies cricket but world cricket.

He was a true master at what he does. The way he would control the timing, dominate bowlers and even destroy bowlers with ease was amazing.

He was a gentlemen off the field but on it he played hard but fair.

Lara will never be replaced and I know it might sound funny coming from a bowler - but I am glad and privileged to have had the opportunity to play cricket against him.

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