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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 home.

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 internationals.

"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.

The teams:

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.

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