England eliminated by Sarwan heroics
Ramnaresh Sarwan held his nerve in a thrilling nine-over dash to guide West Indies to the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals at England’s expense.
West Indies looked dead and buried at 45 for five after 5.2 overs, chasing 80 in a second innings reduced to nine overs by the South London rain.
But the old Guyanese firm of Sarwan (19 not out) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (17no) forged a 37-run partnership to take West Indies home with four balls to spare, knocking the host nation out of the competition.
England had suffered a sharp loss of momentum with the bat under leaden skies, posting 162 from their 20 overs.
But their initial response with the ball was excellent. Chris Gayle struck James Anderson's second ball for four, but the skipper lost Fletcher in the same over for a third successive duck, to a desperate skied hook shot.
The most valued wicket in Twenty20 cricket soon followed. England had limited the damage wreacked by Gayle to 15 from eight balls when he was superbly yorked by a Ryan Sidebottom inswinger.
Lendl Simmons departed first ball, skewing Broad to Sidebottom at third man, leaving West Indies floundering at 16 for three after 2.1 overs.
Kieron Pollard responded by striking Graeme Swann for a straight six, and when Dwayne Bravo lofted Adil Rashid’s first ball over cover for six, the young leg-spinner could have been forgiven for losing his nerve.
But Rashid defeated the advancing Pollard with a top-spinner for the fourth wicket of the innings.
That summoned West Indies’ two finest batsman to the crease, but did Sarwan and Chanderpaul possess the firepower to score 29 runs from 18 balls?
Sarwan’s answer was emphatic, producing successive fours off Anderson, over extra cover and through fine leg.
And Stuart Broad, whose skill at the death has been so crucial to England’s progress, was found wanting in the penultimate over, offering a knee-high full toss to Chanderpaul, which he duly flicked for four.
That left West Indies needing three from the last over, sealed when Sidebottom’s full toss was thwacked to the cover boundary by Sarwan.
It ensured a happy end to an otherwise dispriting summer for West Indies at the hands of England. There is an eerie similarity to 2004, when a summer of English thrashings was followed by their 2004 ICC Champions Trophy victory on this very ground in September.
This time, Paul Collingwood won the toss and elected to bat, announcing Rashid had been recalled in place of Dimitri Mascarenhas.
West Indies were weakened considerably by the loss of Fidel Edwards to a back injury moments before the toss.
His replacement, Darren Sammy, took the new ball, but a second-wicket stand of 56 between Ravi Bopara and Kevin Pietersen ensured that England capitalised on the benign West Indies attack in the opening six-over powerplay.
Nonetheless, Pollard struck with his fourth ball when Luke Wright top-edged an attempted hook shot, offering Denesh Ramdin a skied catch. For reasons only known to himself, an unmoved Andre Fletcher refused to get out of Ramdin's way.
Bopara and Pietersen tore into Pollard, forcing Gayle into a double change after four overs. Sulieman Benn’s first over went for just five, but Jerome Taylor was met with a pair of superb straight drives from the duo.
Pietersen, in princely form, launched into Simmons' wayward medium-pace in the seventh over. But he played an unfathomably lazy shot off Simmons’ fifth ball, holing out to Fletcher at deep square leg for 31 from 19 balls.
Owais Shah began fluently, playing a deft late cut for four and a flick off his legs for six. He was unfortunate to fall to a full-blooded slog-sweep, caught brilliantly by Fletcher in the same spot where Pietersen met his demise.
England moved past 100 in the 13th over, followed two overs later by Bopara’s fifty, from 43 balls. But Bopara had added just five when he was given lbw to Gayle, trying to turn him to leg.
Rain stopped play with England sat precariously at 129 for four after 16.4 overs. Play was delayed half an hour until 19.08 BST.
And with Collingwood and James Foster relatively new to the crease, the innings hit a brick wall. The captain perished to the second legitimate delivery of the resumption, lbw to Bravo, and his successors at the crease also struggled to get the bowling away.
England had not found the boundary since Shah struck the second ball of the 11th over for six. But Broad hit Benn’s last two balls for four and six, carrying England to 161 for six. In the end, it was not enough.