ICL: Indian Cricket League

Inspired West Indies claim one-day series


wibatsmanWest Indies produced a near-perfect one-day performance as they claimed the series against England with a handsome 93-run victory at Trent Bridge. Set up by another well-paced batting display, built around contrasting innings from Chris Gayle and Runako Morton, West Indies’ bowlers then lifted their game to a new level as England never threatened to approach the target.

The result was a triumph for Gayle, who was focussed on his task from the moment he faced up to the day’s first ball. He anchored the innings by batting 42 overs for an uncharacteristically sedate 82 before marshalling his team expertly in the field. He may have fallen out with his board, but whatever problems he has encountered over the last two weeks have been used as a major motivation and his team played with a huge smile on their face. After the drubbing at Lord’s there would have been long odds on West Indies taking the trophy and there are flickers of a brighter future.

The most pleasing aspect about this win for West Indies was that Shivnarine Chanderpaul contributed only 33 - a relative failure given the riches of the tour - but others stood up to take the slack. Morton played a mature innings, exploding in the final 10 overs as West Indies outdid their Edgbaston effort by smashing 116 runs, then Daren Powell and Fidel Edwards showed the duel threat they can pose.

West Indies’ innings was rounded off by a flourishing stand of 92 in less than eight overs between Morton and Dwayne Bravo and from the outset they were pumped up in the field. Powell steamed in with the new ball and Matt Prior fenced outside off stump to hand him his first wicket, but it was his fifth over which provided the most compelling viewing.

Alastair Cook slashed hard to backward point after making another start, and the crowd readied themselves in anticipation of Kevin Pietersen’s arrival on his former home ground. Powell greeted him with a rapid bouncer, which reared over Pietersen’s head and Denesh Ramdin’s gloves as it flew away for four byes. The next delivery was quick and outside off stump, Pietersen couldn’t resist having a flamboyant drive and the resultant edge travelled at high speed to Devon Smith, at second slip, who held on at the second attempt after spinning around to take the rebound.

As at Edgbaston there was constant chatter from West Indies towards the batsmen and the huddle after Powell removed Pietersen was the most exuberant of the tour. Bell and Owais Shah produced a brief rally - Shah elegantly pulling Powell into the stand - but Edwards broke through, at the end of a fine over, when Bell drove loosely to backward point where Dwayne Smith held his second low catch. Shah, one of the positives from this series for England, reached his third ODI fifty off 63 balls but any faint hopes they retained of making an impression vanished when he top-edged a lap off Smith.

Paul Collingwood scurried and scampered the best he could, but a quicker delivery from Bravo ended his series providing confirmation, if any were needed, that the job of lifting England from the bottom of one-day cricket will be a long and arduous assignment. The contrast between the teams was emphasised by Gayle’s reflex slip catch to remove Dimitri Mascarenhas and Marlon Samuels’ low swoop at deep midwicket.

England were off the pace throughout the day, their performance typified by a fielding display that included three drop catches and some shoddy out-cricket when the fielders were put under pressure. Both Gayle and Morton were offered lives on 4 and made England pay. The tone was set early when Cook dropped a fierce drive off Gayle at short cover, then on 20 when Bell missed a straightforward effort at backward point. Bell had earlier held a smart catch to remove Devon Smith, but made a complete mess of the second offering and barely got a hand on the ball.

Gayle picked off anything over-pitched from the England bowlers and Chanderpaul quickly carried on from where he left off at Edgbaston. Liam Plunkett managed to extract a rare edge only to watch it fly wide of Shah at the lone slip, and when Monty Panesar was given a bowl it didn’t take long for Chanderpaul to deposit him down the ground for the day’s first six.

One of the few moments to go England’s way was Chanderpaul’s top-edge which was well taken by Pietersen, over his shoulder at midwicket, and they levelled proceedings by removing Samuels early. However, Gayle’s 85-ball half-century was holding the innings together and, when Gayle was Plunkett’s third wicket, Morton took over to ensure his captain’s hard work wasn’t wasted.

The fifth-wicket stand of 92 with Bravo put England under severe pressure as the pair ran smartly between the wickets and took advantage of any fumbles. Morton took 17 off Stuart Broad’s eighth over, including a brutal straight six, and Bravo freed his arms through the off side with a string of powerful boundaries. It was another momentum-changing passage of play and West Indies didn’t loosen their grip. There are many problems for them still to confront, but for one day at least they have all be forgotten.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 8th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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