Chennai, March 17: England made it home by the skin of their teeth in a nail-biter of a World Cup match at Chennai's Chepauk stadium on Thursday night to remain in the World Cup 2011 (pictures). With the West Indies needing just 22 runs off the last 9 overs with 4 wickets in hand, it seemed that match was well out of the grasp of the English. But that's when the men from Ole Blighty pulled out dramatic reserves to peg their opponents back and ensnare the last quartet of wickets in 3.4 overs for just 4 runs! English off-break James Tredwell vindicated his inclusion in the side with 4/48 while his spin twin Graeme Swann took 3/36. Cameos from Chris Gayle (43), Darren Sammy (41) and Andre Russell (49) gave England quite a scare, but the batsmen fell at crucial junctures, paving the way for an English victory (video).
The West Indies innings was given a blistering start by Chris Gayle who unleashed barrels of raw power. In the 3rd over, he belted a quartet of fours off Tim Bresnan and two overs later, clobbered Chris Tremlett for three more boundaries and a maximum to take the Windies past 50.
Then when the off-spinner James Tredwell came onto bowl, he tried to unsettle him as well with another four, but was out lbw next ball. Chris Gayle had played one shot too many and was on his way for 43 off 21 balls.
But while captain Darren Sammy, who had placed himself at No.3, tried to keep the momentum going by swatting a six off Tredwell, there was trouble at the other end - Devon Smith was stumped off Tredwell, for 10 off 27 balls.
Not to be fazed by the loss of wickets, Sammy kept up his belligerent stance, striking two fours off Bresnan in the 10th over and then carting Tredwell for a six in the 11th. Darren Bravo tried joining the party, hitting a four off Tremlett before going to a really low catch at slip off Tredwell for 5 off 15 balls.
Then the power-hitting Sammy had hit his last shot when he was cleaned up by medium pacer Ravi Bopara in the 18th over. The Windies skipper had to depart for 41 off 29 balls with his side at 113/4. Two overs later, the same bowler dimissed Devon Thomas for 10 in a similar manner and the West Indies were suddenly 118/5 in 19.4 overs.
Kieron Pollard, in typical fashion, biffed a few big hits before he was trapped in front by Swann for 24 off 27 balls and the Windies were 150/6 in 27.4 overs. But then came a twist in the tale - a partnership by Ramnaresh Sarwan and Andre Russell which swung the momentum around. Russell decided to live by the sword, swatting a six and four off Tremlett in the 32nd over, before flaying Tredwell and Swann for maximums as well, to take the Windies score past 200 in the 37th over.
Then just as it looked like this batting duo was running away with the match, Tredwell struck to remove Russell for 49 off 46 balls. If England had got its foot in the door at that stage, two overs later Graeme Swann had pried it open. The off-break first had Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at forward short leg by Ian Bell, then Kemar Roach at mid off by Tremlett.
The West Indies still needed 21 runs off 39 balls with just 1 wicket remaining. There was nothing the last batting pair of Sulieman Benn and Devendra Bishood could do but make a mad dash for whatever runs were on offer. And that was enougvh to spell doom for the Windies. In the 45th over, Benn was run out for 2, the West Indies were all out for 225 and England had won the match by 18 runs (see scorecard).