ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
England v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Chennai
Gibson envies England resilience
Siddarth Ravindran at the Chidambaram Stadium
March 17, 2011
England's World Cup campaign has provided enough thrills for even the most ardent adrenaline junkie, and though they lurched from terrific to terrible once again, they soaked up the blows from West Indies at the MA Chidambaram Stadium and hung on for a tight win that keeps them in the tournament.
West Indies had the game firmly in their grip on several occasions, but every time, England managed to squeeze out of trouble. At 151 for 6, England's tail was exposed but West Indies didn't bring on their spearhead, Kemar Roach, and instead chose to use the less menacing Sulieman Benn and Kieron Pollard, which allowed Luke Wright to lead a revival.
During the chase, they had England on the mat, first after the all-out-attack from Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy, and later when the Andre Russell-Ramnaresh Sarwan stand took them close, but on both occasions a clutch of wickets undermined their chances of victory. West Indies coach Ottis Gibson wants his side to grasp some of England's scrapping ability, which he feels will be vital for Caribbean cricket to rise again.
"England have been a resilient side for a long time, they don't always play their best game, but somebody stands up, today it was Tredwell, Luke Wright's been waiting for a game a while as well, he had a good game with the bat," Gibson said after the game. "They have got the resilience that we are looking for."
West Indies came out chasing 243 as though it was 343, with Gayle initially setting a scorching pace before Sammy blasted three sixes to keep the run-rate at seven an over. It was a bizarre scorecard, with the top six batsmen either going berzerk at close to two runs a ball, or dropping anchor at a strike-rate of 45 or less - as though only first gear and top gear existed.
Gibson said the power-hitting from Gayle and Sammy was part of their strategy. "The hardness of the ball made it easier for stroke-play, as the ball got softer it became a lot harder to bat," he said. "We knew the ball would stay a little bit in the pitch and that it would turn a lot more when it was softer, so the strategy was to capitalise on the early overs which we did. We were always at five an over (required rate). What we needed was somebody to see us through, and that didn't happen."
While using Sammy as a pinch-hitter was a planned move, pushing the wicketkeeper Devon Thomas to No. 4 was less so. "A toilet break," Gibson revealed as the reason behind the change. "Sarwan couldn't make it to the crease in time, that's why Thomas came."
Despite the defeat, Gibson said that the performance of the two newcomers, allrounder Russell and legspinner Devendra Bishoo, gave him cause for optimism. Russell picked up four wickets before his quickfire 49 took West Indies close to the finish line. "Great performance from Andre Russell today in only his second international game," he said, "bowling very well and then making a good 49, putting on a good partnership with Sarwan."
Bishoo impressed on debut, with three wickets including those of Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan. "You saw the emergence of young Devendra Bishoo, another little gem we have known about for a while, who came here and did a great job with his legspinners," Gibson said. "Roach, Russell, Dwayne Bravo, all those guys are under 25, they are going to be the nucleus of the West Indies team for a long time to come. As a coach, there is a hell of a lot to take out of this [defeat] and move forward with."
The defeat in Chennai means West Indies could face a must-win tie against India on Sunday, if Bangladesh manage to upset South Africa on Saturday. A Bangladesh defeat will almost certainly send West Indies into the quarter-finals, irrespective of the outcome against India. "We haven't beaten a top team in some 20 months," said Gibson. "We would like to do that [on Sunday], we had another opportunity today, we didn't take it but we are getting closer."