West Indies vs England
Starting time: 2:30 pm IST
Chennai, March 17: England will desperately need to beat the West Indies on Thursday, March 17 to stay in contention for the quarter-finals of the World Cup 2011. But what they have going for them in they have defeated these opponents in two out of three one-day series since the last World Cup.
Indeed, the team from Ole Blighty lost the home series played in July 2007 by 2 games to 1, but then came back to win engagements in March 2009 (3 games to 2) and in May 2009 (2-zip). On aggregate, it has won 6 matches to the Windies 4 in that period.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul will most definitely be the West Indian batsman for the English to train their guns on for he has come out the most consistent bat against them. He has figured in the top three run-getters in all the three series against England since the last global event, with a robust average of 51.94.
Other men from the Carribean that the English will have to watch out for are Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, who also bear a good record against England, while for England it has been Matt Prior and Andrew Strauss who have performed well against the Windies.
Among the bowlers, James Anderson has figured as the most effective bowler with 12 wickets from 7 matches against the Windies at an average hovering around 23.00, while Kieron Pollard has 9 scalps from 5 matches at an average of 17.66 against the English.
In the World Cup so far, for England it has been Strauss and Jonathan Trott that have emerged the most consistent batters with comparable averages of around 60 each, followed by Ian Bell with 39.00. Meanwhile, in the Windies' camp, Pollard and Devon Smith top the run-getting charts for their side with averages just over 50.
But it's the Windies bowling that appears the most ominous with off-spinner Sulieman Benn garnering 12 wickets from 4 matches this World Cup at a staggering average of 12.50. However, his team-mate - pace bowler Kenmar Roach has trumped him with an average of just above 11 and with 11 scalps. Meanwhile, England's most successful bowler has been off-break Graeme Swann 9 wickets from 5 matches at an average of 23.55.
So the die is cast for a scintillating fixture on Thursday as England contend top stay alive in this World Cup and hopefully edge out Bangladesh for a spot in the quarter-finals.