|Player:||OA Shah, PD Collingwood, RR Sarwan|
DateLine: 21st March 2009
An amazing miscalculation from West Indies coach John Dyson handed England an extraordinary victory in the opening one-day international, at the Providence Stadium in Guyana, when he misread the Duckworth-Lewis chart and called his batsmen in when they were two behind the required target. With the light fading Stuart Broad trapped Denesh Ramdin leg-before to tip the D/L target in England's favour, with West Indies needing 27 from 22 balls, yet Dyson insisted his not-out batsmen walk off after reading the sheet in front of him. Andrew Strauss knew his team were ahead, but Dyson needed convincing and went to see the match referee before the result was confirmed. It overshadowed what had been an excellent match and left Dyson with serious questions to answer.
It was another occasion when cricket didn't do itself many favours, but West Indies only have themselves to blame as they became preoccupied by the light for a few overs before actually walking off. Kieron Pollard clearly wasn't pleased with conditions before pulling James Anderson to deep square-leg where Steve Harmison, who had spilled a seemingly crucial catch moments earlier at long-on off Pollard, clung on, but West Indies were still a fraction ahead. That changed when Ramdin fell to the second ball of the 46th over and the next batsman hadn't even taken guard before the light was offered and the players trooped off. Dyson was convinced his team had won, but after frantically waving his clipboard around, he went to see the umpires and soon received the bad news.
The game itself had swayed one way then the other, but West Indies appeared to have claimed a vital advantage after a scintillating Powerplay attack from home-town hero Shivnarine Chanderpaul. He slammed 26 off Harmison's seventh over which turned the chase completely in their favour as England's lack of confidence started to seep through once again. His assault was breathtaking; he cut Harmison square, audaciously swept him over fine leg for six then took four consecutive off-side boundaries between point and mid-off with increasing force. After the first four of those boundaries he'd managed more runs off his own bat than England did in their entire batting Powerplay that yielded a measly 17.
With the adrenalin pumping he couldn't stop playing shots and picked out Strauss at square leg in the next over as he swept Broad. It gave England renewed hope, which increased when Anderson had Dwayne Bravo well caught at backward point, but Pollard was playing the best innings off his international career before his lack of experience came through as he tried to play for the light.
The scenes of celebration on the England balcony when the result was confirmed suggested they'd won a much bigger prize, but this was their first international success of the winter and they weren't really too bothered about the circumstances. They produced some solid cricket throughout the day, firstly to post a competitive 270 on a sluggish surface with half-centuries from Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood, who suffered a migraine during his innings, and then to keep West Indies' reply under control under Chanderpaul cut loose.
Shah, who responded after a disappointing Test series, reached his half-century from 67 balls and Collingwood took 58. With the stand progressing well England were well placed to launch on 190 for 3 after 37 overs, but a rain interruption came at a bad time for England and they struggled to find the same momentum after the break until Matt Prior provided some late impetus.
Broad snared Gayle early which boosted spirits and although Ramnaresh Sarwan and Lendl Simmons built a stand of 125 it took them 27 overs with the asking rate climbing all the day. Collingwood continued his impressive match when he had Sarwan caught at midwicket and Simmons was then victim to the increasing pressure when he lofted Gareth Batty to deep midwicket. Chanderpaul creamed his first ball over mid-on and marshalled Pollard during their fourth-wicket stand. After some dressing-room discussions they opted for the Powerplay in the 39th over and Pollard signalled the intent by straight driving Broad for six. That was nothing compared to what Chanderpaul produced, but everything was overshadowed by the finish and the simple mistake of looking at the wrong row of numbers.