Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Simons Turns Up Heat on England

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Simons Turns Up Heat on England

Article excerpt


SOUTH AFRICA raised the stakes in Birmingham by insisting that today's 'dress rehearsal' meeting with England could have an important bearing on the rest of the summer.

Given that both countries are already through to Saturday's NatWest triangular tournament final following Zimbabwe's predictable relegation to third place, a dead qualifying match under the Edgbaston floodlights could be viewed as one of the season's least important fixtures.

But South Africa believe today's game may not only give the winners an edge going to Lord's but also create an early advantage point for a Test series which starts in Birmingham later this month.

"We would like to keep the momentum going, having built it up by beating England at Old Trafford and also winning against Zimbabwe as well," said their coach, Eric Simons.

"If we can have another good win against England here, that will put a lot of pressure on them as to how they play against us in the final."

Michael Vaughan's men struck first with their handsome sixwicket victory against South Africa at The Oval. But the tourists gained ample revenge by inflicting a seven-wicket defeat at Old Trafford.

Simons, though, suggests today's game, in front of a 20,000 sell-out, and Saturday's final can give one team an opportunity to move ahead in the confidence ratings.

"I think this does have a bearing on the Test series," he said.

"Cricket is a big psychological game. …

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