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England Hold On For Narrowest Of Wins

England 141-6 (Pietersen 44, S Ganga 4-23) beat
Trinidad & Tobago 140-9 (Ramdin 37, Flintoff 3-30) by one run
Stanford Super Series Game Four, Antigua
By Jim White

After their win against Middlesex the previous evening, the Caribbean and new Champions Cup winners Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) fell just one run short of beating England in game 4 of the Stanford Super Series in Antigua.

England’s total of 141-6 was mainly in debt to captain Kevin Pietersen (44 off 30 balls) and Ian Bell (37 off 41) and the best T&T bowling was again Sherwin Ganga with 4-23. In reply T&T were restricted to 140-9 with Denesh Ramdin (37 off 36) and Lendl Simmons (21 off 18) and required 3 off the last ball of the game. England’s most successful bowlers were Andrew Flintoff (3-30) and a miserly Paul Collingwood (2-11).

England were invited to bat but had to change their line-up due to a mystery virus that affected 4 of their team. In came Cook, Bopara, Swann and Harmison to replace Wright, Sidebottom, Broad and Anderson.

Another poor start was compounded by the loss of three cheap wickets before captain Kevin Pietersen joined Ian Bell to put on 48 in just over 4 overs. This included an unlucky 13th over of the game, bowled by Amit Jaggernauth, that was dispatched for 21 including two big sixes. Bell was eventually caught at long-off for a well-crafted 37 off 41 balls.

Flintoff joined in with a huge six over long–on and as both batters kept trying to clear the ropes, Pietersen eventually holed out for 44 off 30 balls before England ran well to bring the total up to 141-6. Cook the specialist number 9 was next man in.

Simmons and Justin Guillen began the reply against the spin of Samit Patel and Flintoff. Simmons was dismissed after a quickfire 21 off 8 balls with 11 runs coming off Flintoff’s first over. However normal service was resumed by Paul Collingwood and three quick wickets brought T&T in line with the England score at 63-4 after the first 10 overs.

Sherwin Ganga (14 off 13) and Ravi Ramdin (37 off 36) brought T&T back into the game and looked like they were going to pull off an unlikely victory as Ramdin climbed into Steve Harmison to deposit him for 6 over mid-wicket and a couple of fours off Flintoff (3-30) meant that was left to Badree 7* off 5 and Ramdin to run 3 off the last ball to win.

A tie would have meant the first ever Stanford super over – one over each, anyone can bat and anyone can bowl. The England players were only told by umpire Simon Taufel before the last ball was bowled, much to their utter disbelief and amusement! A 1/1 if you like.

The subsequent run-out meant that it was not needed and England remained undefeated before their big match on Saturday.

© Cricket World 2008