England beat WI to keep their last-8 hopes alive
Chennai: England spinners James Tredwell and Graeme Swann showed tremendous composure to keep England`s hopes of aquarterfinal alive berth beating West Indies by 18 runs in their final group B league encounter of the World Cup here on Thursday.
Defending a decent total of 243 on a slow turner at the Chepauk, Tredwell (4/48) and Swann (3/35) bowled magnificently to take three of the last four wickets giving away only one run as West Indies were all-out for 225 in 44.4 overs.
Andre Russell who had a fantastic match (49, 46 balls, 2x4, 3x6 and four for 49) added 72 runs for the seventh wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan (31) raising visions of victory after the former champions were tottering at 150 for six.
However, Tredwell (4/49) playing his first match of the tournament came on for his final and the 42nd over, West Indies needed only 22 with four wickets but he trapped Russel leg before. Swann who bowled the 44th over then removed dangerman Sarwan and Kemar Roach (0) in his first and third deliveries before Suleiman Benn was run-out in the next over going for a non-existent second run to keep England in the hunt for a last eight berth.
The group B is now open with hosts India needing a win to ensure safe passage into the last eight while West Indies will hoping that South Africa comprehensively beat Bangladesh in order to ensure their entry into last eight. It was match where all West Indian batsmen got starts but were dismissed after getting set. Save Sarwan everyone played their share of big shots before perishing due to the slow and turning nature of pitch.
Chris Gayle started in whirlwind fashion smacking anything that was in his zone. In Chris Tremlett`s first over he hit the lanky fast bowler for three boundaries and a six. Even Tim Bresnan who hasn`t been easy to get away got a hammering from Gayle as the Jamaican raced his way to 43 off only 21 balls with the help of eight fours and a six.
Along with Devon Smith (10, 27 balls), he added 58 runs in only 6.4 overs before he padded a straighetr one from off-break bowler James Tredwell and was adjudged leg before. Playing his first match of the tournament, Tredwell wasn`t afraid to flight the ball and also got appreciable turn. His second victim was Smith who missed a fuller delivery and Prior effected a stumping on second attempt. Darren Bravo (5) was dismissed when he edged a classical off-break to rival captain Strauss stationed in the slips.
Skipper Darren Sammy (41, 29 balls, 2x4, 3x6) promoted himself at No. 3 as a pinch-hitter in order to maintain the momentum set by Gayle. He was partially successful as he hit Tredwell for couple of huge sixes. But on a pitch where the odd ball was skidding and some stopping, it was difficult to carry on with the slogging. The West Indies skipper was finally played on when he tried a cut shot with very little room. An identical delivery got Bopara his second wicket when glovesman Devon Thomas (10) was played on. At 118 for five, West Indies were staring down the barrel when Kieron Pollard (24, 27 balls, 1x4, 2x6) and Sarwan got together.
Pollard hit Swann and Bopara for a six each. In between he got reprieve when he miscued trying to hit over mid-wicket but the resultant catch was dropped by Bopara running backwards. Pollard failed to cash in as Swann`s off-break found him plumb in-front. At 150 for six, it was Russel who joined Sarwan. Earlier, useful knocks from Jonathan Trott (47) and Luke Wright (44) helped England post a competitive total of 243 in 48.4 overs.
Trott`s solidity and Wright`s rearguard action helped England set a target which the Caribbean batsmen might find difficult to chase on a slow track.
Speedster Russell (4-49) was the pick of the bowlers and was well supported by debutant leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (3-34) while pace spearhead Kemar Roach (2-34) chipped in with a couple of scalps. Even though England made a positive start in their must-win match to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage, they lost the track during the middle-overs when the Caribbean bowlers started calling shots.
Off to a steady start after opting to bat, England laid a solid platform with a 48-run stand for the opening wicket between captain Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior. Being more fluent of the two, Prior scored run-a-ball 21 before Andre Russell bowled him out. However, before the over was finished, new man Trott hit Russell for three boundaries from his first five balls to keep the momentum going.
Trott got off the mark with a flick through midwicket, before following it up by a short-arm pull and then a drive through the covers.
He added another three in a row -- two off rival captain Darren Sammy`s over and one of Russell`s over to smash 26 from only nine balls. At the other end, having adopted a cautious approach, Strauss was going only for the occasional hits, which also included a pulled six over midwicket off Sammy.
With Strauss and Trott in the middle, things were looking absolutely under England`s control before Russell stuck yet again to dismiss Strauss for 31 (39b, 3X4, 1X6). Going for a pull, Strauss got a top edge that landed in Chris Gayle`s hands, who took an excellent catch running back from short mid-wicket.
England, however, were still placed comfortably at 99-2. But just then young Bishoo was introduced into the attack, who not only put brakes on England`s scoring rate but also claimed a couple of key wickets to push the English on the back foot.
With Ian Bell finding it difficult to score runs, dealing only in singles for the first 30 balls of his innings, the in-form Trott also lost the momentum and gave away his wicket to Bishoo to be caught by Gayle at midwicket.
After Trott`s dismissal, Eoin Morgan and Bell found it harder to accelerate the innings. And eventually Bell, who got a `life` on 21 when Devon Thomas dropped him off Kieron Pollard, was bowled by Roach for a pain-staking 27 off 48 balls. In the very next over, Bishoo saw off Morgan (7) to be caught by Thomas, to leave England reeling at 134 for 5. Even as Ravi Bopara (4) and James Tredwell (9) failed to steady the boat, Luke Wright applied himself well to take England past 200-run mark.
With all recognised batsmen back in the pavillion, Wright single-handedly consolidated the innings but Bishoo cut short his 57-ball 44 runs innings, studded with five fours. Opting to take the Powerplay in 46th over, England scored a few useful runs courtesy Tim Bresnan (20 not out) and Graeme Swann (8) who got a few cheeky boundaries.