Thrilling England get stay of execution

England retain title of most unpredictable team at Cricket World Cup with 18-run win over Windies to keep hopes alive.

    Chris Tremlett's diving catch to remove Kemar Roach put England on the front foot [AFP]

    England kept their Cricket World Cup hopes alive with a thrilling 18-run win over a West Indies side who had threatened to put Andrew Strauss' team onto an early flight in Chennai.

    Defending a 243-run total on a wicket that offered plenty of runs, James Tredwell wrecked the West Indies top order with 4-48 while Ravi Bopara claimed two vital wickets to bowl out the Caribbean side for 225 in 44.4 overs.

    Chris Gayle with 43 and Darren Sammy with 41 made a whirlwind start but West Indies were unable to keep up the momentum as they lost regular wickets.

    Earlier, the English top order was guilty of squandering promising starts and not a single batsman scored a half-century against a West Indies attack – spearheaded by pace bowler Andre Russell’s 4-49 and debutant leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (3-34) – that bowled them out in 48.4 overs.

    Strauss and Matt Prior fell before their opening stand could really blossom and even though Jonathan Trott (47) and Luke Wright (44) down the order got the starts, none could hang around until the final overs.

    England await the outcome of other Group B matches to go their way before they can make it to the last eight stage, with Bangladesh still able to take fourth spot.

    Opting to bat first, England's decision to persist with Prior as opener nearly paid off but Russell removed both the openers in quick succession to peg them back.

    Sublime touch

    Trott looked in sublime touch, hitting three boundaries off the first five balls he faced from Russell but Bishoo could not be denied a memorable debut in one-day internationals.

    Bishoo removed Trott and went on to claim the vital scalp of Eoin Morgan, whose improvisation and ability to score briskly make him such a dangerous batsman.

    Morgan fell trying to play a cheeky reverse sweep. Wright did his best down the order but England kept losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually collapsed with eight balls to spare.

    West Indies' chase got off to a rollicking start with Gayle wasting precious little time to assert himself.

    Gayle hit Tim Bresnan for four boundaries in the third over, prompting Strauss to replace the bowler with Chris Tremlett who was also promptly taken off attack after the West Indian batsman hit him for three fours and a six in his first over.

    Tredwell then intervened.

    The off-spinner cut short Gayle's action-packed 21-ball stay and removed Devon Smith and Darren Bravo to peg back West Indies.

    Bopara got the better of Sammy and Devon Thomas to intensify the pressure, Graeme Swann took 3-36 and Tremlett pulled off a stunning diving catch to remove Kemar Roach.

    Despite Russell's defiance, West Indies crumbled as Suleiman Benn was run out chasing an ill-advised second run.

    "Every game we play just gets tighter and tighter – I had given that one up today," Swann told Sky Sports after Thursday's close.

    "All of a sudden, we're still here."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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