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It was a tricky game, says Cook

England skipper believes it is important for the team to be at "the top" of their game to get through the semis

It was a tricky game, says Cook - Cricket News
England captain Alastair Cook with the Man of the match trophy.
Alastair, a good authentic win, albeit over a 24 over game. Does that give you the confidence now to think you can go on and claim that trophy? 
Well, it's great to get the opportunity to keep it in our hands. Obviously, with the rain about, which at 8:00 o'clock this morning, wasn't there; and then you come off just before – just after the toss and then everyone says, oh, it's just about to rain. It's just a bit of a relief that we managed to get on and we kept it in our own hands. It was a pretty good performance.
It's always tricky batting first in a 24 over game. You never know quite what a good score is. It's not Twenty20, there’s powerplays ‑‑ 7 overs of powerplays which is different, and obviously, the wicket had been under covers for a while. So we didn't quite know what a good score was, and we got a competitive total in the end, and I thought we bowled very well.
Alastair, which team would you not like to play in the semi-finals, India or South Africa, that’s my first question? And India is the only team unbeaten in this tournament, so what are your feelings that they're doing so well in the English conditions?
At the end of the day we just wanted to get through to the semi-finals, so we kept it in our own hands. We've had the opportunity to play. Obviously -- to answer you, we don't mind who we play. We're glad we're in this. We had the quarter-final in one way today, and now we look forward to the semi-final, whoever that may be, and look forward to playing well.
Alastair, how close are you to performing at your best as a side? Do you feel you're improving or getting towards that groove as the tournament goes on?
In these three games, I thought we've played pretty well. Clearly there was an outstanding 100 by Kumar Sangakkara to beat us the other day. And, yeah, today we've adapted well to a different condition of game. So it was a good effort, a real good effort. Yeah any 4 sides -- or any 8 of these sides in this Champions Trophy have been a dangerous side to play. You have to be at the top of your game to win.
Did you enjoy your innings, you got the chance to open your shoulders a bit, and we even spotted a scoop in it?
Yeah, I know. I thought that would keep you entertained. Yeah, I don't play too much Twenty20 cricket, and actually, I think the game against India here was a rain reduced game as well, and I managed to get a few runs. So it's nice, isn't it? What I found really hard today is knowing what a good score was, maybe we set ourselves a little too high at the end. I think we lost 7 wickets in 36 runs or something right there at the end. And we were looking at 180, 190. Maybe we set our sights too high. If we had set our sights a bit lower, we might have gotten even more. So that was, I thought, the hardest part.
So what did you make of 169 over when you walked off?
I thought about par. When I was batting, I came off and I thought 180 was a good score, but it's important that you strike early when you're defending 170. I thought those first four overs was fantastic bowling by Jimmy and Broady and it nipped around a little bit. We got those couple of wickets and just managed to keep taking wickets when we needed to.
Obviously, it was a very good partnership from Williamson and Anderson there, which we felt that we were in control, but you just never know, do you? It's such a small boundary over there. Yeah, it was a nerve‑racking time. It was 24-24 whatever, it's quite nerve‑racking for a captain.
Did you think those first few overs of New Zealand's innings were ultimately the key part, because if they had gotten off to a good start, it would have been quite difficult from there?

Yeah, clearly it was. Clearly we knew that as well. We thought with a fifth bowler was an option, also a quite scary option at 24. Normally you have five bowlers in Twenty20. So our out‑and‑out bowlers, Ravi, did a fantastic job today. And Treders as well, it wasn't turning too much, and to come in and hold his nerve again was good.
Alastair, are you aware that we witnessed a bit of history out there with you hitting two sixes in the same one‑day game for the first time?

I wasn't aware of it. I'll have to hit three next time.
I wanted to ask you a bit about the bowling, in particular James Anderson and Stuart Broad. How much confidence does that give you going forward having those two guys pretty much set the platform for you with the ball out there today?
Yeah, I think they bowled very well in two of the three games. Didn't quite get it right at The Oval. I'm not quite sure what Jimmy was doing with those last three balls, if I'm being totally honest with you. As he said, he had it in the bag.
But, yeah, it was outstanding setting the tome and tough to bat against. There were some good wicket‑taking balls flying around which is what you need in one‑day cricket.
I wanted to ask you about Graeme Swann; I believe it was a tight calf that kept him out of the game today. How is he looking going torwards the semi-final? And might you just keep Tredwell going? He's doing a good job for you?

He's done a fantastic job, Tredders. We're very lucky in that department that we have two outstanding bowlers. Tredders is almost unlucky in one way that Swanny’s been ahead of him. But, look, we're obviously going to play it safe with Swanny. He has got a tight calf, and it just depends how he pulls up over the next couple of days as we play. He won't be rested because we're in the fortunate position of having Tredders there, and he's more than just a back‑up.
Alastair, they were still just about in it when Williamson was in and that wicket was very nearly a no‑ball, wasn't it? Does that sum up the narrow margins in this?

Yeah, it was – Broadie was like, that might be close – I didn’t realize it was quite that close. Yeah, sport is always fine lines, isn't it? It always has been, and it will continue to be so.
When it's virtually impossible to tell, do you go with the on-field umpire?
I think so. It did look, even on the big screen that there was a part that landed just behind it, and it would have just pushed forward. I’m sure New Zealand might have seen it differently. We both might have seen it different ways. But I think on those decisions, you probably have to go with the umpire's call on the field. When you get a no ball, you can't have any complaints.

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