England in must-win match to prevent early World Cup exit

Their morale low after a shock loss to Bangladesh, an injury-hit England take on the West Indies in a crucial Group B match on Thursday requiring an complete win to keep their World Cup hopes alive. England have endured a roller-coaster World Cup so far having won two games, with the humdinger against South Africa, holding India to a tie but their loss to minnows Ireland and Bangladesh have made this one a must-win bout even to be able to think of quarterfinal qualification. Presently they are in the fifth position with just five points.

With four teams competing for the three quarterfinal places from the group after South Africa booked their berth with a clinical win over the Ireland on Tuesday, even a win will not suffice for England and they have to wait for the results of the match between India and West Indies and then pray South Africa defeat Bangladesh. India, with seven points, are in the second place while the West Indies and Bangladesh have six points apiece. But English cricketers are insisting that the team always brings out the best in crunch games and can still win the World Cup.

Coming into the tournament as underdogs, the West Indies, led by Darren Sammy, have a slight edge having won all their last three games after the loss to South Africa, but they have not yet been fully tested in the ties having played against lowly-ranked opponents. They have their last big match against India here on Sunday. Unpredictability has been the seal of England's campaign so far as is evident from their bouncy journey and their woes have only compounded with doubts over the fitness of Strauss and key strike bowler Graeme Swann, who kept away from practice yesterday after recovering from a stomach bug.


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