India, SA favourite to win World Cup: Botha

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2011, 19:27 PM IST

Kolkata: Ireland`s all-rounder Andre Botha believes co-host India and South Africa are the favourites to win the cricket World Cup.

The Irish side will face South Africa at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday and the 35-year-old Botha hoped that the Proteas after their thrilling three-wicket win over India at Nagpur last night would relax a bit against them.

"Playing any team is big in the World Cup. India and South Africa are probably two favourites at the moment to winthe World Cup. It`s as big as the India`s game.”

"We were travelling so could not see the entire stuff. Saw the last bit and it`s obviously a big win for them. They might relax a bit due to the stress of travelling here after a big win and that will give us a big advantage. Hopefully there will be a bit of hangover or something...,” Botha told reporters here on Sunday.

Having slumped to two successive defeats after their upset win over England, Ireland are in no mood to sit back and eyeing back-to-back wins over South Africa and the Netherlands here to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Having stunned the Englishmen in a thrilling 300-plus chase, the Irish lost out to title favourites India and the West Indies but not before giving them hiccups as they desperately need wins from their remaining two league fixtures to make the last eight cut.

"It`s just not the West Indies match. We had put ourselves in good positions to win in all our games so far. We are bit disappointed. We have got two games now. We have to win all the two games to get ourselves a chance to get into the next stage. The boys are up to it and they should be 110 per cent committed for the next game," the southpaw said.

Ireland will wrap up their league engagements with game opposite the Netherlands on March 18. "We have been putting ourselves in positions to win in every single game. Now we are sitting at a stage where we have to win both our games. We have kind of fell short sort of at the last hurdle," said Botha, who was instrumental in their upset win over Pakistan in the last World Cup.

Botha said they would look to go for the final kill and play freely. "We have to win and we will play with a bit more freedom like we used to. We will be pressure free. Winning for us basically means we may go out with a bit more freedom and give it everything we have got, putting the extra pressure behind us," the Irish veteran said.

Botha, who was born in South Africa but settled in Ireland since he was 18, said it will be "pretty special" to play the Proteas in the World Cup.

"I`ve played them (South Africa) a couple of times. Not because I was born there...but obviously they are one of the best teams and favourites to win the title. To play them in the World Cup obviously is going to be pretty special."

PTI