Sunday, April 22, 2007

Clippings: Pietersen's century sinks West Indies

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados
West Indies captain Brian Lara's farewell to international cricket was spoilt by a run out and a thrilling one-wicket defeat by England in the final World Cup Super Eights match on Saturday.
Kevin Pietersen's superb 100 helped England to their target of 301 with one ball to spare after out-of-form Michael Vaughan (79) scored his first fifty of the campaign.
The retirement of Lara, one of the greatest batsman to have graced the sport, and England coach Duncan Fletcher's imminent departure gave the match special significance even though neither team had a chance of progressing further.
England needed 47 runs off the last five overs and a gutsy 38 from wicketkeeper Paul Nixon took them within range before Stuart Broad hit the winning runs off the penultimate delivery.
Lara's disappointment at the defeat was compounded by his own innings -- he only managed to make 18 before he was run out following a mix-up with Marlon Samuels in his final knock.
While Lara, who holds the record for the top test score (400 not out) and highest first class knock (501 not out), ended his reign as captain with another loss, the match produced just the kind of entertaining cricket the 37-year-old values so highly.
"Things didn't work out as planned but still it was a very good game of cricket, it was a fitting way to end my career, runs galore, with over 600 scored in the day," Lara said before making a lap of honour around the field, shaking hands with hundreds of fans.
Exciting though it was, the result was inconsequential as far as the tournament was concerned with both teams having already failed to make the last four -- New Zealand face Sri Lanka and holders Australia are up against South Africa in next week's semi-finals.
Lara's announcement on Thursday that he was retiring from all forms of international cricket transformed the match into an emotional farewell.
Coming in at his old position of number three, Lara received a massive standing ovation and was given a guard of honour by England as he came to the crease.
Even England supporters in the crowd would surely have been willing to Lara to show some of his array of strokes but a big innings was not to be and he left the pitch after just 39 minutes holding his bat aloft before his own team gave him another salute.
Opener Chris Gayle had at least treated the crowd to some Lara-like shots, smashing a 58-ball 79 to leave West Indies on a healthy 131 for one in the 24th over.
Devon Smith (61) looked in good touch until Paul Collingwood again produced a stunning one-handed diving catch at backward point.
Samuels partially made-up for running Lara out by hitting an entertaining 51 as West Indies made 300 for the first time in the tournament.
England made a positive start to the reply and moved briskly to 58 for one off the opening 10 overs after Andrew Strauss was caught by Smith off local boy Corey Collymore.
Vaughan was in aggressive mood hitting six fours and two sixes before he was run out with England at 154 for three in the 27th over -- Dwayne Bravo producing a direct hit as he had done earlier to dismiss Ravi Bopara for 26.
A composed and controlled knock from Pietersen kept English hopes alive as he brought up his 90 ball century with a massive six off Jerome Taylor.
He was then clean bowled next delivery and Taylor claimed his replacement Liam Plunkett in the same over to leave England 30 runs shy of victory with 3.1 overs remaining.
Nixon was still there though and his four boundaries in the 48th and 49th over took England into the final six balls needing just four to win.
The keeper was bowled by a slower delivery from Bravo with the second ball but Broad kept his cool to ensure victory.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

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Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

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