Graeme Swann still targeting World Cup glory

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The Independent Online

England are determined their shock defeat against Ireland will not ruin their World Cup campaign.

Their chastening experience, at the hands of Kevin O'Brien in particular, means they now need to win two of their last three Group B matches to be confident of progressing to the quarter-finals.

They begin with perhaps the toughest fixture of all, against table-toppers South Africa at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

Graeme Swann gives O'Brien unqualified credit for his outstanding innings of 113 - the fastest hundred in World Cup history - which carried Ireland from a hugely unpromising position to victory with three wickets and five balls to spare in record pursuit of 327 for eight under lights in Bangalore on Wednesday.

But he knows too that England were far from their best, and therefore undid much of the good work they put into a memorable tie with co-hosts and tournament favourites India at the same venue last weekend.

"That is annoying - it's one of the frustrations of why we were so fed up in the changing room (afterwards)," said Swann.

"After the game against India, obviously the world took notice and thought: 'Wow, they're better than we thought they were' - after no one gave us a hope.

"But to win three quarters of the game (against Ireland) and throw it away so catastrophically, that's the sort of thing that can ruin momentum.

"It's certainly not something we want to make a habit of, because we want to win this World Cup first and foremost, and not just to look pretty in a few games and lose."

Swann and his team-mates know where they must start - with thier fielding and bowling, although arguably their failure to press on to an even bigger total in favourable conditions also cost them.

He said: "First and foremost we need to up our fielding - we keep saying before the games that we know we are a good fielding side and let's go out and prove it.

"Then we keep letting ourselves down in that respect.

"The dropped catches cost us.

"The thing we're doing that is so bad is dropping the dangermen as well.

"Often if you drop the tailender you can overlook it.

"But when you drop the guys that go on to make big scores and win the opposition games, that's a disturbing trend that we want to nip in the bud."

As for O'Brien, it seems an IPL contract may be beckoning - an astonishing turn of events for the 27-year-old all-rounder, who earned a brief trial with Swann's county Nottinghamshire two years ago but was not retained.

"I knew him from Notts and I knew he could be a destructive player - perhaps not that destructive," added the England off-spinner.

"He's gone away from his time at Notts and improved - all credit for that.

"We could have done things differently, but I'm not going to take anything away from him.