In scenes of high excitement, with the moon about to peep through darkening skies, England were knocked out of the World Twenty20 here last night. They lost a sudden death encounter with the West Indies by five wickets after their opponents expertly chased a reduced target of 80 to win.
On the Duckworth-Lewis scale used to determine such matters in rain- affected matches, that was what West Indies required to overtake the 161 that England had made. The home side, perhaps at a disadvantage, could have no complaints.
"I am very proud of what the guys have done, even though we just pulled up short tonight," said England's captain Paul Collingwood. "Our bowling has been tremendous throughout the tournament and it was again but when the other side has 10 wickets to play they have always got a chance."
England seemed to be favourites to claim a place in the semi-finals as they reduced West Indies to 16 for 3 with some ferocious new ball bowling from their three seamers, James Anderson, Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad, all of whom took important wickets.
But the West Indies kept their heads and were eventually seen home by their most experienced players, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul, who between them scored off every ball they faced. Sarwan was rightly made man of the match for his nerveless 19 from nine balls. There were no big hits, but there were abundant clean hits. "We knew that what we mustn't do was panic," Sarwan said. "That's what we kept saying to each other and if we put away the bad balls we would have a good chance."
England had achieved a wonderful comeback victory against the champions India the previous evening, but they still have much to learn about how to play Twenty20. Although their total was serviceable and the rain definitely affected the outcome, England should have made more after a brisk start. "The batting in the middle order and how we go about it is something we're going to have to look at," Collingwood said. "The guys have been superb but we know we have a lot to learn. It's very difficult to defend a total like that in nine overs. We didn't have the consistency we want."
England batted on winning the toss, although rain was forecast. Collingwood said: "I looked a weather website and it said there was a 20 per cent chance of rain." But captains cannot judge the destiny of cricket matches on weather forecasts. In some ways the match was reminiscent of the Champions Trophy final between the sides on the same ground in 2004, when the West Indies won on a dark September night. The West Indies captain, Chris Gayle, said: "England did well at the start by taking those wickets but that experience was important. I'd have preferred to win over 20 overs because we always thought that 160 was very gettable on this pitch."
West Indies had to make a swift readjustment to their side when their opening bowler Fidel Edwards sustained a back injury one minute before the toss. It might have distracted them but Darren Sammy, the replacement, bowled his four overs for 24 runs.Reuse content