Jonathan Trott has identified each of England’s remaining World Cup Group B matches as winnable – starting with unbeaten table-toppers South Africa.
England have beaten the Proteas in seven of their last eight completed one-day international matches.
But after Ireland inflicted a shock defeat on Andrew Strauss’ team in Bangalore, they could do with making it eight out of nine against Trott’s native country in Chennai.
Mathematically, England could still qualify for the tournament’s quarter-final stages with just one victory from their final three matches – the other two games are against West Indies and Bangladesh – but two ought to be a much safer passage.
Trott, whose 92 proved in vain on Wednesday thanks to Kevin O’Brien’s heroics in reply, acknowledges England did not bargain for defeat against Ireland.
But he takes issue with those who are starting to form a consensus that their campaign is going off the rails.
“You have to realise we are in a World Cup, three games to go (in the group) – it is not all doom and gloom,” he said.
England appeared to have their unheralded opponents covered, on 111-5 in pursuit of a record chase of 327-8, but O’Brien changed all that in a match which also ended with the added aggravation for England of niggling injuries for Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann.
Pietersen’s sore calf has caused most consternation – he sat out fielding practice at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium – but he is expected to be fit to face South Africa, as are Swann and Paul Collingwood (knee).
Trott, meanwhile, confirmed England have been undergoing a mental as well as a medical debrief after losing to Ireland.
“Obviously we would have liked to have won the game, being in the position we were – and we were very disappointed.
“But we have three very winnable games ahead of us, and a huge chance to qualify for the quarters and to peak at the right time and towards the important time.
“We now know what lies ahead of us and the job in hand and what we have to do to be able to progress.”