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Calling the shots pays dividends for Stewart.

Alec Stewart won the toss for the fourth time on the trot in the World Cup and with it the match, reckons Zimbabwe captain Alistair Campbell.

In fact Stewart won two tosses before asking Zimbabwe to bat first at Trent Bridge and England went on to win handsomely by seven wickets, their third success out of four.

If Sri Lanka beat India today, they will qualify for the Super Six stage ahead of Saturday's final group match against India.

Stewart called correctly at the first spin of the coin - to decide who threw it up for the toss proper.

Normally, the home captain flips it but in the World Cup there is no home captain. Stewart tossed before the toss in the opening game against Sri Lanka but not for the games with Kenya or South Africa. It just depends who wants to flip and who wants to call.

Stewart said: "It was a convincing win; I read comments and they said they were expecting to win the game, but we let the cricket do the talking and put in another solid performance. We'd lost five out or six to them, but we showed we were the better side on the day.

"It's nice to win the toss and have the choice, but you've still got to put the ball in the right place if you bowl first. If there is any early movement, and you do that, you've got a chance.

"Alan Mullally has bowled really well throughout the tournament. A few eyebrows were raised when he wasn't given the new ball but he is relishing coming on first change and is taking important wickets and hasn't gone for many runs.

"We've bowled sides out and restricted them well, our fielding was good and we knocked off the runs easily. I read Zimbabwe's comments with interest, but we go out there and just play."

Campbell said: "I don't think any tosses in these conditions are good ones to lose. You get in on a green pitch, it's not a case of bad batting, it's a case of the ball nipping around, and there's not much you can do. But they bowled well and made full use of the conditions, especially Alan Mullally who kept us pegged back and took wickets at the right times.

"The pitch flattened out nicely in the afternoon, you'd have had to have got 250 if you wanted to defend it. It was really tough, if we'd batted better in the middle order we might have scrambled somewhere near the 190 mark.

"You look back at some of the matches and it's a case of win the toss win the game. They won four tosses out of four and bowled out the opposition for small totals.

"It's very easy to be 50 for five in these conditions. The reason why sides are recovering to a respectable score like 160 is because most teams are not playing a specialist fifth bowler. We let them off the hook a bit, but we got a hiding."

Zimbabwe's finest, scoreboard/Page 28
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Author:Field, David
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 26, 1999
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