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England prepare for crunch match

Andrew Strauss’ England need to overcome the West Indies in their final group match in Chennai or face the end of their ICC World Cup campaign.

Defeat on Thursday would confirm England’s exit from a tournament in which they have largely failed to impress.

Though victory does not guarantee a place in the last eight, a win would pile the pressure well and truly on the shoulders of Bangladesh and the West Indies.

Bangladesh face South Africa and the West Indies play India in their final group match as the three sides compete for two quarter-final places.

Should England secure a win against the West Indies, they and Bangladesh would have to win their final match to oust England from the qualification spots.


Fatigue has become the buzzword in the media as England’s campaign in the sub-continent has soared from emphatic highs to inexplicable lows.

Each of their five encounters has been a classic, from the nervy opening win over Netherlands to the insipid defeat to Bangladesh.

In between there was a magnificent win over South Africa and the once in a generation tie with India, not to forget their Kevin O’Brien inspired defeat to Associates Ireland.

Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen have been injury casualties during the tournament as the rigours of five months on the road appear to have caught up with England.

But Strauss was quick to dismiss the impact fatigue could be having on his troops.

"We have been on the road for a long time, but fatigue is the last thing on our mind." said the opener.

"Potentially we have got four more games to play before a nice, long break.

"We know what the prize there is. We are determined to make the most of the opportunity and take that prize.

"Fatigue is not an issue for us at the moment, and it won't be until right at the end of the tournament."


Adding to England’s woes ahead of their final match has been a bout of illness - far from uncommon for cricketers in the sub-continent - which has affected the squad.

Strauss himself, as well as Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott and Ajmal Shahzad have all suffered from the speight of food poisoning.

While Trott, Swann and Strauss all appear to have recovered, Shahzad - England’s best seamer against Bangladesh - remains a worry.

Sammy eyes England

West Indies captain and former MCC Young Cricketer Darren Sammy described it as a ‘good time to play England,’ ahead of the clash.

Without overly impressing, the West Indies have won three from four so far, including being the beneficiaries of an implosion by Bangladesh’s batsmen when they capitulated for just 58.

Chris Gayle, an absentee in the win over Ireland, is likely to be fit and England will also have to negotiate dangerous spinner-cum-opening bowler Sulieman Benn in the early overs.

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