Windies out to make a clean sweep
CRICKET: Defending champions West Indies will be hoping to
make a clean sweep when they confront England in their International
Cricket Council Champions Trophy Mini World Cup group 'A' fixture at the
Saradar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera, Ahemedebad here on Saturday.
West Indies have already booked their place in the semi-finals while
England are still searching for their first win of the ten nation
competition. Even then this game will have a great amount of
significance with England out to avenge their previous defeat which they
suffered during the 2004 tournament final against the same opponents at
The other major factor is that England Captain Andrew Flintoff could
bowl for the first time since June having recovered following an ankle
surgery. The Lancashire all-rounder has been playing only as a batsman
in the past but this time he seem to be ready to bowl in their final
outing of the tournament.
The West Indies victory against India on Thursday of course brought
an end to England's slim chances of reaching the Champions Trophy
semifinals. Earlier they lost their opening two matches against India
and Australia as they continued their poor run in limited-overs games
which has seen them lose nine of their previous 12 matches.
England were let down by their batsmen as they could manage only 125
runs against India and 169 runs against the world champions Australia
failing to last their full quota of 50 overs in both games at Jaipur.
However Flintoff said that they have the talent to compete against
the best and said they are determined to finish the tournament on a
impressive note in Ahmedabad. "It is the last game we can't reach the
semifinals of the tournament but we will certainly got a lot to play
for," the 28-year-old added. "We're playing for pride and so we'll go in
there trying to beat West Indies and go home on a high note.
Flintoff said that his team is a talented group of players and can
play much better than they did in the earlier games and it's just
producing the goods on that day. "The one thing we need to get is
consistency and that comes from winning matches. You spend time in the
nets but you have to go out in the middle and play properly."
Meanwhile West Indies captain Brian Lara dismissed suggestions that
they might rest some of their key players including himself for the
England game. The left-hander passed a late fitness test prior to the
match against India after suffering from a back injury. Lara is just 66
runs short of becoming the fifth player to score 10,000 runs in one day
"It's important that we get the best team out there. We don't want to
have a hiccup at this time," he explained. "We did that in the
tri-series in Malaysia, where we experimented in the game before the
final, and lost the momentum. "We got the batting line-up that we wanted
and, if I'm fitter than I was against India, I'll definitely play."
The West Indies have made a tremendous impact in their last two
outings after being shot out for just 80 runs in a qualifying round
match against Sri Lanka at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. Since then
they have picked up their form and have really worked their way to be a
major force and are just two games away from retaining the title for the
second successive year.
England (from): Andrew Flintoff (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell,
Rikki Clarke, Paul Collingwood, Jamie Dalrymple, Stephen Harmison, Ed
Joyce, Sajid Mahmood, Jon Lewis, Kevin Pietersen, Chris Read, Andrew
Strauss, Michael Yardy.
West Indies (from): Brian Lara (capt), Ian Bradshaw, Dwayne Bravo,
Carlton Baugh, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards,
Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Runako Morton, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh
Sarwan, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.