Thursday, March 17, 2011

England Won by 18 Runs Vs West Indies. England have still chance for Quarter Finals

England won in an exciting and thrilling match against West Indies by 18 Runs and now hopes for England to remain in Cricket World Cup 2011 is still live. This league match was do or die match for England.

Image Courtesy Espn Cricinfo

A pair of blistering cameos from Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy put West Indies firmly on course for victory in their Group B showdown with England, but a steady stream of wickets - first for the spinner James Tredwell and then for the medium-pace of Ravi Bopara - left the match firmly in the balance at the halfway mark of yet another fascinating contest in Chennai, with the big hitter Kieron Pollard unbeaten on 15 alongside Ramnaresh Sarwan.

England's total of 243 was better than they might have anticipated at 151 for 6, but it still seemed a good 30 runs below par, especially when Gayle tore onto the offensive in a thrillingly belligerent 43 from 21 balls. With Devon Smith a mere bystander at the top of the order, Gayle smashed the usually reliable Tim Bresnan for four fours in his second over of the match, before welcoming Chris Tremlett to World Cup cricket in no-less-devastating fashion, with three fours and a dismissive six over wide long-on.

After five overs, West Indies already had 50 on the board, but not for the first time at Chennai, the arrival of the spinners signalled a change of tempo. Graeme Swann's first over went for a tidy three runs, before Tredwell struck with his fourth ball of the tournament, one delivery after Gayle had swatted him for his ninth boundary in 20 balls. Leaning onto the front foot, he was rapped on the pad in front of middle, and a full four years after his international debut, Tredwell finally had his first ODI wicket.

One over later, Tredwell had his second. He had to wait until Sammy had slapped him into the stands for six, but when Smith came onto strike, Tredwell fired a yorker into his boot, which dribbled out past the off stump for Matt Prior to pull off a sharp stumping as he scooped the ball in his right glove. And Tredwell made it three wickets in four overs when Darren Bravo was caught in two minds as he pushed outside off, for Strauss at slip to cling onto a sharp low catch.

Sammy by this stage was into his stride. West Indies' captain had promoted himself to No. 3 primarily to combat the offspin of Swann and Tredwell, but he continued to attack the off-colour Bresnan who switched ends to no avail as he was flogged for two further boundaries. Another big six over long-on off Tredwell took Sammy to 36 from 21 balls, but after a relative period of calm, Bopara nailed him via an inside-edge onto the off stump.

The same mode of dismissal then accounted for Devon Thomas, who had been playing the anchor role in his 10 from 20 balls, and at 118 for 5 after 20 overs, England felt as though they had the upper hand for the first time in the innings. Pollard, however, took his time to get involved as he and Sarwan played out three consecutive maidens, and he didn't truly play a shot in anger until Swann returned for his second spell. His second ball was thumped high over midwicket for six, but his fourth was badly dropped by Bopara in the covers, as he ran back to a miscued swipe.

48.4 overs England 243 (Trott 47, Russell 4-49) v West Indies

England's reshuffled bowling attack will need to defend their second below-par total in consecutive matches at Chennai, after yet another schizophrenic performance left their World Cup hopes dangling tantalisingly in their must-win Group B fixture against West Indies. After winning the toss on a decent batting track, England squandered a flying start from Jonathan Trott to lose four key wickets in a calamitous mid-innings collapse, before a ballsy 44 from the recalled Luke Wright hosted them back up towards a passable total of 243.

It was a batting performance that epitomised England's extraordinary campaign. While Trott was at the crease, caressing boundary after boundary in a 38-ball 47, there seemed no reason to doubt that, at the sixth time of asking, his team would finally produce the command performance that has been so glaringly absent from their efforts to date. But then, when he fell in the 22nd over to a feeble clip to short midwicket, the middle order lost all semblance of direction and had collapsed to 151 for 6 before Wright's run-a-ball stand of 41 with James Tredwell prompted a vital revival.

Devendra Bishoo, the Guyanese legspinner, bowled supremely on debut to claim 3 for 34 in his ten overs, including 2 for 23 in a massively composed first spell of eight off the reel, while the bustling Andre Russell was a constant threat as he mixed boundary balls with wicket-taking deliveries to finish with a career-best 4 for 49. But England once again will wonder how they threw away a position of such dominance, having at one stage been cruising on 121 for 2.

Needing victory even to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, England were handed a solid platform through a 48-run stand for the first wicket between Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior, who produced his most fluent innings of the tournament to date with a run-a-ball 21, before Russell produced a beauty that slid back through the gate to demolish his middle stump.

Nevertheless, before the over was done, Trott had broken into a gallop with three fours from his first five balls - a perfectly timed flick through midwicket to get off the mark, followed by a dismissive pull and a dead-eyed drive through the covers, all along the ground and racing across a lightning-quick outfield. He then added a further three in a row from Darren Sammy and Russell - every one a result of placement over power - to rush along to a heady 26 from nine balls.

At the other end, Strauss had bedded down for a typically determined performance, as he played out a maiden first-up from Kemar Roach before greeting Darren Sammy with a second-ball pull for six over midwicket, but the extra lift of Russell scuppered him on 31, as another attempted pull scuffed off a top-edge, for the fit-again Chris Gayle to complete an excellent catch running back from short midwicket.

It was the introduction of Bishoo that undermined the momentum of the innings. Ian Bell once again proved reluctant to use his feet as he dealt almost exclusively in singles for the first 30 balls of his innings, but Trott was the first man to be unseated by the leggie, as he flicked loosely against the turn, and lobbed a gentle catch straight to Gayle at midwicket. After such a poised start to his innings, it was a rare misjudgement from a batsman who had scarcely played a false shot all tournament.

Bell, whose returns have dropped off in recent weeks, looked to have laid the foundations of a decent innings with 26 from 47 balls before he was undone by the extra pace of Roach, who blasted out his off stump from the first ball of his new spell. And England's campaign was officially on the skids when Eoin Morgan, their undisputed trump card, attempted to get too cute - even by his inventive standards - and dabbed an attempted back-sweep off Bishoo straight into the gloves of Devon Thomas for 7.

Ravi Bopara, who looked leaden-footed and unsure of his role throughout a 16-ball stay, then poked limply at Russell and took out his own stumps via an inside-edge, leaving England's fate in the hands of two men who had barely featured in their plans at any stage of their long tour. Wright last played at Perth during the Australia ODIs, while Tredwell's only outing of the whole winter came at Hobart. But they played sensibly enough in a 41-run stand for the seventh wicket - a tally that was boosted by two lots of five wides - before a disastrous mix-up on a Kieron Pollard misfield led to Tredwell's run-out for 9.

Wright clumped five fours in a 57-ball stay before launching Bishoo down the throat of Russell at cow corner, whereupon the reliable tonker Tim Bresnan took up the cudgels in the closing overs with an unbeaten 20 from 27 balls. The final wicket fell to Roach, who banged in a short ball that extracted Chris Tremlett with eight deliveries left unused. It might be enough, but this is a much firmer surface than the one on which England defended 171. And they have the services of neither the dropped James Anderson, nor the injured Stuart Broad. And nor even the mercurial wiles of Ajmal Shahzad, whose campaign has been ended by a hamstring strain.

England 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Matt Prior (wk), 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Luke Wright, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Tredwell, 11 Chris Tremlett.

West Indies 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Devon Smith, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Darren Sammy (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Devon Thomas (wk), 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Sulieman Benn, 11 Kemar Roach.


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