Friday, March 18, 2011

World Cup 2011 : West Indies vs England...

It was a do or die match for England against the mercurial West Indies at Chennai.
England won the toss & elected to bat on a slow wicket. Against a disciplined attack, Andrew Strauss & Matt prior started quite well, putting 48 runs for the opening partnership, before Prior was bowled by Russel in the 10th over. Runs came but wickets fell too, as England limped towards 150 mark in the 32nd over having lost half the side. From there on, it was a late assault by Luke Wright along with Bresnan who pulled the score to 243, before getting all out. Russell & debutant spinner Bishoo, had kept the batsmen in tight control throughout the innings, along with Kemar Roach.  Russel finished with 4 wickets, while Bishoo scalped 3 & Roach got 2. For England, it was a par score, though they would have wanted another 25 odd runs more to be secure.

West Indies started their chase in typical Calypso style as Gayle got going. Runs flowed as hapless English bowlers had no clue. 50 runs came in just 29 balls, & Gayle looked in ominous touch. But as has been in the past, he lost cool & got out for 43 runs off just 21 balls in the 7th over, with score reading 58 for1. From there on, runs came but wickets fell as well, & what seemed to be an easy target, became difficult. When Pollard got himself out LBW to Swann, it was 150 for 6 in the 28th over, & England looked good to wrap the match. However, there was further drama, as Russell came to the crease & along with old warhorse Sarwan, took Windies to the doorsteps of victory. In the 42nd over, with just 22 runs required off 54 balls, Russell on 49 & Sarwan on 30, it looked dead & buried for England. But the final twist was yet to come. The Windies could only self destruct themselves, & that's exactly what they did. Strauss looking for divine intervention, turned to spin, with Tredwell & Swann having one over each left. It turned out to be a master stroke, as most inexplicably Windies lost their last 4 wickets for a mere 3 runs in the space of  24 deliveries, leaving England victorious by 18 runs. England can now be almost sure of making it to the quarterfinals with this win, as it is highly improbable that Bangladesh can win against South Africa & that too by a huge margin.
For the Windies, it was another frustrating defeat pulled from the clutches of victory, & they have only themselves to blame for it. They would in most likelihood make to the quarterfinals, due to good net run rate, though they have one more match left against hosts India in the same venue coming Sunday.

Man of the Match : James Tredwell for his match winning bowling of 4 for 48 in 10 overs. This being his first match at World Cup, it was a sterling performance that brought England back into reckoning from the brink of elimination.