Rain again costs England dear
West Indies defied the rain to scrape a Duckworth-Lewis win over England - leaving their opponents to face a Providence shoot-out with Ireland for an ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights place.
The weather played havoc with the home reply to 191 for five. But a storming start before rain first intervened at the Providence Stadium took the Windies to 30 without loss, and they eventually returned to achieve a revised target of 60 in six overs - with eight wickets and one ball to spare.
Chris Gayle’s team are therefore already through to the next stage after back-to-back Group D victories.
Victory for either of their victims England and Ireland will take them through too tomorrow, while a washout would mean Paul Collingwood’s men progress on a far superior net run-rate.
Today, Eoin Morgan and Luke Wright had shared a brutal stand of 95 to help England set a testing initial total.
The fifth-wicket pair, who came together at 88 in the 10th over after a clutch of twentysomethings at the top of the England order, smashed seven sixes between them.
They took a little necessary time to re-establish in mid-innings, and then laid into Ravi Rampaul, whose three overs cost 52, in particular as 76 runs came from the last five overs.
Morgan’s share was 55 from 35 balls, and Wright’s an unbeaten 45 from 27, in an England total which boasted the most sixes they have hit in a Twenty20 innings and equalled the highest score in this tournament so far.
Openers Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter, both on debut at this level, gave England the start they have been picked for - until the left-hander toppled over trying to drive and was bowled by Chris Gayle.
Lumb had hit Rampaul out of the attack by then, taking 16 off the seamer’s solitary new-ball over, and West Indies persisted instead with spin from both ends.
Kevin Pietersen got under way with a cover-drive for four of his first ball from old sparring partner Gayle - and then had a minor scare on six at the other end, Nikita Miller unable to cling on to a tough return chance away to his left.
Kieswetter announced himself with twin sixes over long-off, from Miller and then the returning Rampaul - England having raced past 50 in five overs.
By the end of the 10th, though, two big wickets in one over from Darren Sammy had stalled England’s momentum.
Kieswetter was already gone, lbw to one that turned and hit his back leg from Miller - and then Collingwood was bowled hitting across the line and Pietersen holed out in the leg-side deep, having hit the previous ball in a similar direction for six.
Wright and Morgan had been set a significant task but rose to it with good sense and still better talent as the early ones and twos soon gave way to towering sixes and boundaries to all parts.
Yet West Indies, who had chosen to field first in the knowledge the likely D/L calculations may favour them batting second, got a flying start to their chase.
Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul tore into the England attack in the 2.2 overs possible before a downpour which threatened to prevent an outright result.
The bad weather finally relented in the nick of time, with a 5pm local cut-off looming.
Then - in an outcome with echoes of the Brit Oval last year when West Indies knocked England out of their own World Twenty20 in a similarly rain-affected match - Gayle and Co did just enough.
Graeme Swann had Gayle chipping a catch to midwicket, and Kieron Pollard was smartly stumped by Kieswetter from the off-spinner’s very next delivery - which was called a wide.
But Chanderpaul and Andre Fletcher held their nerve to take the Windies through and leave England to sweat on the result of a match they should win against Ireland.