Pressure did West Indies in

18 Mar 2011 by Raj in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

It was a game West Indies should have won and, with it, secured their place in the quarter finals. However, as they have often done in the past, the Caribbeans once again succumbed to the pressure and allowed the English team to stay alive in the competition. They had all but got through to victory, but the last four wickets could not get them even 20 oddd runs, as a result of which they were shamed. On the other hand, England while struggling for most parts with the bat in hand, managed to get some crucial runs towards the end of their innings, courtesy a wonderful counter attacking knock by Luke Wright and some good support by Tim Bresnan. In hindsight, it were those extra runs allowed England skipper Andrew Strauss to attack the West Indies lower order batsmen, which eventually made all the difference.

West Indies had everything going their way as they got off to an incredible start thanks to a brutal partnership between skipper Darren Sammy and former skipper Chris Gayle. To their credit, England fought back extremely well, but the wonderful knock by Andre Russell under pressure put their ahead. It was all going according to plan for the Caribbean nation until it all fell apart the West Indies way. The Calypso collapse has kept the intrigue alive in the Group B of the tournament for now as England live to fight another day.

England made a number of changes going into the do or die match and a two of them turned out to be match changing efforts. Luke Wright’s knock towards the end of the England innings kept his side in the hunt. And, James Tredwell bowled with a great heart and guile. His four-wicket haul hurt the West Indies badly and it was only fair that he ended up with the man of the match award. The other change, Chris Tremlett coming in for James Anderson did not work well, but it can be said that at least his inclusion changed the luck of the side around. Also, it wouldn’t be fair to expect someone to come in and perform straightaway after waiting in the wings for nearly a month. Coming back to England’s positives, while Tredwell was exceptional so was Graeme Swann. He picked up key wickets towards the end to spin the game England’s way. Ravi Bopara’s contribution too should not be ignored. Not only did he pick up wickets, but also kept the runs at a minimal when the regular bowlers were being thrashed.

Though the West Indies would be extremely disappointed with the loss, they too can take out some positives going into the game against India, none bigger than the performance of debutant leg spinner Devendra Bishoo. He was exceptional with the ball, picking up the major scalps of Jonathan Trott, Eoin Morgan and Wright to derail England’s innings. All his wickets game thanks to some sensible bowling and he exposed the Englishmen’s weakness against the leg spinners yet again. And while Russell played hero with the bat, he was sensational with the ball too earlier in the day, picking up four scalps. With some support from the others, he could well have walked away with the man of the match trophy and his side a place in the quarters. Fingers will be raised at Ramnaresh Sarwan, who did not accelerate despite getting his even in and even as wickets kept falling at the other end. However, while a part of the blame can be apportioned to Sarwan, it was yet again the fragile mindset of West Indies cricket that we have all grown to see over the last two decades that did them in, one more time.


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