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Fan Following

Splayed stumps and a belly flop

Gayle b Sidebottom, and impromptu entertainment courtesy a pitch invader

Jon Guard
Ramnaresh Sarwan nails an extra-cover drive, England v West Indies, ICC World Twenty20, The Oval, June 15, 2009

A most crucial 19 by Ramnaresh Sarwan  •  Getty Images

Why I picked this match
I chose this fixture because I thought England had a good chance of making it to the Super Eights. I also expected, as the organisers probably did, that Australia would be the opposition. That they were not did not matter. West Indies are a formidable Twenty20 team. The result was difficult to predict - England's resilience under pressure against Chris Gayle's attacking batsmen. My money was on England to squeeze through.
Key performer
Ramnaresh Sarwan - rarely will a batsman score such a crucial 19 not out. He came in at 45 for 5 with 35 needed off 22 balls and with England on a roll. He responded with three fours and calmly led his team to victory.
One thing I'd have changed about the match
The weather. Games subjected to Duckworth-Lewis always lose some lustre. Sustaining eight runs per over across 20 overs rather than nine across nine might have been too much for West Indies.
Face-off you relished
Gayle against any England bowler. The nonchalant West Indies captain has an aura of power. If Gayle gets going, no total is safe.
Wow moment
Gayle had calmly dispatched three boundaries, but the final ball of the second over, bowled by Ryan Sidebottom, was full, fast and splayed his stumps. England must have sensed possible victory.
Player watch
Andre Fletcher fielded at square leg when West Indies bowled from the Pavilion End. He took a fine mid-air catch above his head to get rid of Owais Shah. Luke Wright fielded there for England and made a fumble late on to give away a second, vital run - not appreciated by the crowd.
Shot of the day
Kevin Pietersen's first ball, bowled by Kieron Pollard, was pulled to the midwicket boundary. No messing around, straight into his stride.
Crowd meter
The game was watched by a full house, cheering every England run, wicket and dot ball. There were a good number of West Indies supporters, as well as Pakistanis who had watched the earlier game, with flags for the various countries being waved all round the ground. As the game reached its climax, the noise lessened as the bowlers ran in, the atmosphere very tense, before rising in cheers or groans depending upon the outcome.
As the crowd awaited the start of West Indies' reply, the mood was lightened by a man in just his pants running onto the pitch and sliding on his belly across the covers. Not the right thing to do, of course, but he made an impressive slide and got a huge cheer before being escorted away.
England's innings got off to an aggressive start, although they lost momentum towards the end, before the rain prevented a genuine, full-length contest. Nevertheless, West Indies' nine-over reply had the crowd on the edge of their seats. The game came down to the wire, as Twenty20 matches should.
Marks out of 10
7. Tense finish, but England slightly unlucky to go out in shortened match.

Jon Guard is 28 and lives in Kidderminster, Worcestershire. He has been working as manager of a stately home wedding/conference venue in Staffordshire for four years now. He has always loved cricket and played regularly before working on weekends got in the way! His girlfriend lives in London and The Oval has become one of his regular places to go and watch games.