|Print this article|
India-born England opener Ravi Bopara's innings had class written all over as he reached his 50 in 43 balls with the help of five boundaries during the Twenty20 World Cup Super Eight match at the Oval on Monday night.
He also starred in two crucial partnerships, 56 with Kevin Pietersen and another 34 with Owais Shah to help England register a competitive total before rain played spoilsport.
England lost Luke Wright (6) early but Kevin Pietersen (31) and Bopara scored at a fast clip.
Pietersen seemed in good nick, showing no signs of the Achilles injury that has been plaguing him off late. He was well complemented by Bopara, who batted with elan.
The duo brought in their 50 off 34 balls but Pietersen fell soon after going for a needless shot. He went for a big heave off Lendl Simmons but found Andre Fletcher at the mid-on boundary, ending his 19-ball stay at the crease that included five boundaries.
Owais Shah (18) joined Bopara and the duo scored at a quick pace before Fletcher plucked the former at the mid-on boundary off Dwayne Bravo.
West Indies captain Chris Gayle then dealt a body blow to England when he trapped Bopara in front of the wicket, ending his 47-ball innings.
Captain Paul Collingwood was joined by James Foster when rain intervened with England at 129 for four. However, with the rain easing off soon, the players were back on the pitch after a 30-minute break without any deduction in overs.
England, though, suffered a jolt almost immediately as Bravo trapped Collingwood (11) in front of stumps. The West Indies slow bowlers did an excellent job as England struggled to get a boundary towards the end before pacer Stuart Broad (10 n.o.) hit a four and a six off the last two deliveries to push the score past the 160-run mark.
Scintillating knocks by seasoned duo Ramnaresh Sarwan (19 n.o.) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (17 n.o.) propelled West Indies to the semi-finals by five wickets via Duckworth-Lewis method in the rain-affected match.
Chasing 80 for victory off nine overs after rain twice held up play, West Indies looked dead and buried after they lost three wickets inside the first three overs, but the experienced duo added 37 runs off 18 balls to win the team a place in the last-four stage.