Shahzad is out with a stomach bug, Strauss and Swann have recovered. All these was already all out on twitter, though there were also rumours of Wright opening, but that isn't happening. West Indies, meanwhile, have Chris Gayle back in place of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and legspinner Devendra Bishoo makes his ODI debut, in place of Nikita Miller. England won the toss and opted to bat first.
Related post: Road to Quarterfinals: England face Windies hurdle...
Today is the day when many expect to witness a thrilling battle. Why? Because, England, the most erratic, entertaining and engaging team of this World Cup takes on the degrading West Indies. England have to win today, to avoid the embarrassment of being ousted in the first stage. And, of course, also to give themselves a chance to make history, which comes once every 4 years. If England don't make it through, they will be missed immensely, not just by English fans but even by the fanatics who have some hatred against England. For, they are the team which has produced the most thrilling contests.
England started with a win against Netherlands, followed by a tie against India, a loss to Ireland, thrilling win against South Africa and finally, losing to Bangladesh in a see-saw battle. So their campaign reads like this - win, tie, lose, win, lose, which indicates today's clash is going to be a tie or an England win. At the moment, West Indies and Bangladesh have 6 points each, England 5. Today's win will take England's tally to 7, a tie to 6 points. Bangladesh and West Indies can still send England packing by beating South Africa and India respectively, but as we all know, it is unlikely. Also to be noted, West Indies have a net run rate of +2.206, England +0.013, Bangladesh -0.765. So, in case these teams finish on equal points, Bangladesh will not qualify.
I expect England to triumph comfortably, unless the games comes to a halt due to reasons like rain. England towers over West Indies in each game they play, in all formats. The match will be held at Chennai, where England succeeded in defending 171 against South Africa earlier this month. Ajmal Shahzad is doubtful while Strauss and Swann are recovering well from illness so they are likely to play. News of James Anderson's exclusion have been doing the rounds, but in case Shahzad doesn't play, Jimmy certainly will. He is a key player, not because he is expected to perform but because, though he has bowled well at times, he tends to give shed loads of runs at other times. At Chennai, vs South Africa, he took 2/16 in 6 overs, so there is a good chance he'll have a role to play. I seriously hope Strauss attacks if England manage to trouble Windies.
Andrew Strauss is upbeat despite suffering from a stomach bug:
We have been on the road for a long time, but fatigue is the last thing on our mind. Potentially we have got four more nice games to play before a nice, long break.
Shoaib Akhtar all set to retire
After a career filled with injuries, drugs, fiery bowling spells, heroic performances, indiscipline, ban and many other controversies, the colourful character has announced retirement from International cricket after the World Cup.
That's all I had to say for now, tune in to England vs West Indies at 02:30 pm IST (09:00 GMT). Cheers.
Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong: England went for Prior as an opener, fighter Morgan made a comeback, Collingwood replaced Bopara. I wasn't happy to see Prior as an opener. Either Trott or Bell should have been given a chance at the top. For it to happen, Morgan would bat at No.3 or 4 and since he seems to be adaptable, this isn't a bad idea. The question is whether Trott or Bell would be more successful batting where they do now. But England lack an opener and needs to take this risk right in the middle of the World Cup. As soon as Trott comes out to bat, the run rate drops, at times even his partners catch his tortoise approach to batting. But he provides foundation and it's better to bat at a low run rate in the start than to lose a few wickets. If Strauss could flourish with Trott by his side, it could well provide England the consistency they need. Kevin Pietersen is a big loss, because the opening partnership of Strauss and KP was beneficial in the tournament, except for the clash against South Africa.
As the action began...
Bangladesh won the toss and choose to field. Soon, Prior was stumped, rather foolishly, especially for a wicket-keeper. Rahim, the Bangladesh keeper, failed in his first attempt to stump, but Prior was lazy in his return to the crease. So Rahim took the stumps out of the ground with the ball and that was the end of Prior. After 16.4 overs, England was struggling at 53/3 with Strauss, Prior and Bell back in the pavilion, as Morgan made his way out. Trott and Morgan were again the heroes as England sailed to 162. Jonathan Trott is England's Mr.consistent with an average of 54.61 in one-day, 86 in Tests and 57.80 in World Cup 2011. Though he bores me to death! Paul Collingwood was sent at No.8, which made me wonder if he was in the team just for the sake of being in the team. There isn't much use of his batting if he bats so low and he shall not just play to bowl economical overs.
How the Tigers chased it down...
After being 73/3, opener Imrul Kayes and captain Shakib took it forward to 155. Bangladesh almost gave the match away as the wickets started to tumble. They lost their 4th wicket at 155 and the 8th at 169! When it looked like England may pull this one off, Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam showed what they are made of. Strauss has raged me in a lot of matches because of his defensiveness. It looks like he always has the 50 overs planned and never changes his plan, no matter what the situation is. Even if the opposition loses 8 wickets, he aims for economical overs. England rarely wins before the 49th over. Take my advice folks, if you want value for money in this World Cup, England's matches are the best. And if you want to be stunned, Pakistan isn't a bad bet either! In my last post, Another jolt in English cricket: Kevin Pietersen out of the World Cup, I asked my readers, "Will England lose to Bangladesh and defeat West Indies by 200 runs or 10 wickets?". It could prove to be right! England must defeat West Indies. For both England and Bangladesh to reach the quarters, England must beat Windies, Bangladesh must beat South Africa and Netherlands, which is unlikely.
Man of the Match: Imrul Kayes
- Eng 225 all out in 49.4 overs (Trott 67, Morgan 63, Islam 2/29, Razzaq 2/32, S Hasan 2/49)
- Ban 227/8 in 49 overs (Kayes 60, Iqbal 38, S Hasan 32, Shahzad 3/43, Swann 2/42)
|KP: Out of World cup and IPL due to soreness after bowling 8 overs during SA vs England|
Coming back to the current scenario, as opposed to what a lot of people are criticizing - the pitch at Chennai (England vs South Africa), I'd like to say that we need variety, all 300+ games will bore us. Not only that, low scoring games can be a lot more competitive because it's no longer mainly a matter of runs, it's about both runs and wickets.
England's matches have been some of the most enjoyable ones this World Cup. It's because of England that Group B is wide open. And now that KP, who opened for the first time for England at the start of this tournament, England have applied to play Eoin Morgan. They are also in search of a new opener, once again. Knowing them, I can say anyone may open. Ravi Bopara has already failed as an opener so I hope at least it's not him. I was disappointed to see England without Paul Collingwood. Strauss has shown an unbelievable faith in Yardy. Months ago England lost 2 early wickets in a game against Australia and Yardy was sent. Strauss has given him a chance to take wickets in batting powerplay and he also bowls a lot of overs. But, all in vain. Even Sussex doesn't give him so many opportunities. England must do away with him. For one moment I thought Strauss has given away the game by preferring Kevin Pietersen and Michael Yardy over James Anderson and Stuart Broad when South Africa had only 3 wickets remaining. Anderson and Broad have been superb throughout the tournament. Anderson has given away some, but he has mostly bowled well, at times fortune was against him.
Will England lose to Bangladesh and defeat West Indies by 200 runs or 10 wickets? To find out, watch the drama unfold: England vs Bangladesh, Chittagong, March 11, 08:30 GMT and England vs West Indies, Chennai, March 17, 09:00 GMT. Today, due to the stretched World Cup schedule for a reason which only BCCI could understand, only Canada vs Kenya is in progress. Kenya 181/8 (45.1 overs).
Firstly, here is how I want the world cup to go:
Quarterfinal 1: England beat Australia
Quarterfinal 2: South Africa beat Netherlands/Ireland
Quarterfinal 3: Pakistan beat India
Quarterfinal 4: Bangladesh beat New Zealand
Semifinal 1: England beat South Africa
Semifinal 2: Pakistan beat Bangladesh
Final: England beat Pakistan
The reason for choosing Bangladesh as a semifinalist is that their players and fans are very enthusiastic. And the world cup is being held at their home too. They'll cherish every win. India will be humiliated to finish 4th in the group stage. Losing to arch rivals Pakistan, to whom they have never lost a world cup game, will be an icing on the cake.
Hello there, it's right after the Ireland game. It's that time when the cricketing fraternity is soaked in a pool of thrill. It couldn't ask for more cricket. Since England began their campaign, it has kept media, experts and everyone else puzzled. Before the India-England tie, Bangladesh could advance to the quarters by beating West Indies or England, according to Indian newspapers. It was the highly anticipated game and did it live up to the expectations? Well, it couldn't have been better.
|An Indian fan with the name of England's new opener painted on his arms|
Scoring 338 gave India an edge. Sailing smoothly made England favourites. Everyone has been referring to Zaheer Khan's 3 wickets as the turning point. But in reality, the 42nd over, in which England only managed 2 runs, turned it all around. The wickets were just the presentation of it. Before it all happened, I thought they need not take the powerplay as opposed to what Sunil Gavaskar suggested. Wickets have been lost a lot of times in the batting powerplay. You just don't need to change anything when everything is going your way. It's not only that the struggling 42nd over prompted England to take the powerplay. It was more like England scored only 2 runs because they were going to take the powerplay. Anyways, it was an even battle and losing for any team, wouldn't have been anything less than humiliation. But now, England shall be more satisfied. Why? Because they didn't let India defend 338, that too at home. And in the end, when it seemed like England's boat was sinking, it was the three 6s by Swann, Bresnan and Shahzad that turned a loss into a tie. That does give you a lift.
England vs Ireland
All 3 matches England has played so far, have been hard fought. The India one was the most thrilling and against Netherlands, though they gave a fight, England was never going to lose it. And today England's performance was disappointing and the result, shocking. From 111/5 in 24.2 overs, needing over 8 runs per over, Ireland came back to stun England. Every World Cup has it's fair share of upsets and this was one of it.