Strauss admits England need to 'stop chasing their tails'

The captain wants side to bounce back after Irish disappointment having narrowly beaten The Netherlands and tied with India.

England must raise their game by several notches if they are to stay alive in the World Cup and Andrew Strauss, their captain, admitted that unless they stopped "chasing their tails", their journey could come to a premature end.

England's hopes are hanging by a thread after Ireland pulled off the biggest upset in the tournament in beating them by three wickets on Wednesday to blow qualification for the knockout stages wide open.

Having narrowly beaten the Netherlands and then tied with India, England's remaining matches are against the West Indies, Bangladesh and South Africa, who they face on Sunday, and Strauss, who is the top scorer in the tournament at present with 280 runs to his name, admitted that there is no margin for error if they are to go through to the next round.

"The game coming up against South Africa is a huge one for us," he said.

"Generally we bounce back well from defeat in the past whether it's in Test cricket or one-day cricket and we are going to have to do that very quickly and probably be very honest with each other and realise where we can improve and make those improvements very quickly."

One area of improvement would definitely be their bowling attack who have now conceded three of England's highest four World Cup totals in their matches this tournament.

Strauss admitted that bowling on the flat subcontinent pitches was always going to be difficult, but criticised his bowlers for the way they have conceded most of those runs.

"What we don't want to be doing is haemorrhaging both sides of the wickets and kind of chasing our tails too much which potentially we have done in the last three games," Strauss said.

England's fielders have also failed to back up their bowlers with lazy fielding, spilt catches and missed run outs characterising all their matches so far, with four costly chances being put down in the loss to Ireland.

Strauss knows his team cannot afford to make any more mistakes and only perfect performances against the stronger opponents will keep them in the title hunt.

"Hopefully that will galvanise us as a team and the equation is pretty simple now. We can't afford any slip up and have to go out there and deliver."

* Agencies