England Keep World Cup Hopes Alive Following 18-Run Win
England 243 (Trott 47, Wright 44) beat
West Indies 225 (Russell 49) by 18 runs
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Group B
England held on to beat the West Indies by 18 runs and keep their hopes of reaching the Cricket World Cup quarter-finals alive in a thrilling Group B game in Chennai.
It was your usual run-of-the-mill thriller for them as they came back more than a couple of times after the match seemed headed the other way. Graeme Swann and James Tredwell combined for seven wickets between them to spin out the Windies for 225 in response to their 243.
West Indies began their chase sprightly as Chris Gayle got into the English attack. He smacked Tim Bresnan in the third over for four fours and then hit Chris Tremlett for another three, as also a six, racing to 39 off just 17 balls. The innings 50 had come up in just 4.5 overs.
Swann had opened the bowling from the other end and seeing that he wasn’t getting any stick, Andrew Strauss introduced Tredwell into the attack, all inside the first ten overs. It paid rich dividends as Gayle was trapped before and after a review made his way back for 43 runs off 21 balls. In his next over, the ninth of the innings, he had Devon Smith stumped after Matt Prior recovered from his initial fumble.
Skipper Darren Sammy promoted himself up the order and struck some lusty blows, rendering Tredwell for three sixes. But the 29-year-old off-spinner hit back with the wicket of Darren Bravo at the other end, caught at slip for just five runs. Even at 91 for three, West Indies were in control of the game but all that changed immediately after the drinks break. On the very first ball of the 18th over, Ravi Bopara bowled Sammy and then Devon Thomas in his next over, making it 118 for five in the 20th over. When Kieron Pollard was out leg before to Swann, the chase seemed dead at 150 for six.
However, it led to a partnership between Ramnaresh Sarwan (31) and Andre Russell (49). Together they put on 72 runs and steered their team towards an improbable win. Russell should have been out in the 38th over when he was caught by Jonathan Trott in the deep. But Trott was tracking back and was deemed by the television umpires to have touched the boundary ropes, and it was given a six instead.
England did not droop though and when he was finally out in the 42nd over, they caused a mini-collapse where the last four wickets fell for only three runs. Swann took two in his last over and Tredwell took one more, before Trott ran out Sulieman Benn to seal the victory.
Earlier, England got off to a sedate start after winning the toss. The pitch looked different from their match against South Africa here but it was sure to turn later on. Strauss and Prior added 48 for the first wicket but just when they were looking to accelerate, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. All their top order batsmen got starts but Trott’s score of 47 was the highest, and it told a tale.
England were down to 131 for four in the 27th over and were struggling soon after at 151 for six, as the middle order failed to fire. Eoin Morgan was out for seven, caught splendidly behind the wicket whilst attempting a reverse-sweep, and Bopara was bowled by Russell for four. Luke Wright then made a sedate 44 off 57 balls to push England towards a fighting total and Tim Bresnan’s 20 runs helped them make 243, before being bowled out in the 49th over.
Chetan Narula in Chennai
© Cricket World 2011