|Tuesday, 2 March 2004|
England face tough task against Windies
Chris Dhambarage reporting from Bangladesh
DHAKA, Bangladesh, Monday - The unbeaten England under 19 side will face a tough challenge when they confront the much improved West Indies team in the ICC Youth World Cup cricket tournament second semifinal match to be played at the Bangabandhu National Stadium under lights here tomorrow (Tuesday).
England finished on top of group 'B' of the Super League with a one hundred percent success record and are a confident lot going into this all important semifinal fixture. The West Indies have fought their way into the last four and their triumph over the South Africans in the Super League was certainly the turning point which put them as group runners up behind Sri Lanka.
England are of course hoping to enter the final for the second time having clinched the title in 1998 in South Africa by defeating New Zealand by seven wickets in that final. They seem to have adjusted themselves well to the conditions more than any other team in this tournament and could be really satisfied with their overall performances.
They will be making a determined effort do doubt to make it to the final which will be a tremendous achievement especially in a tournament worked off in the sub continent. Despite being forced to play under different conditions and on different venues this young England outfit have certainly made a significant impact and are just one match away from taking a title back home. But the West Indies team is equally determined and they are quiet aware that they cannot afford to take any chances when they take the field.
They have with them some very good players who are capable of producing match winning performances with both bat and ball.
This was quite clear when they took on the South Africans in a crucial Super League game which they needed to win to qualify into the last four. Opener Xavier Marshall from Jamaica rose to the occasion with a magnificent 106 which paid the way to a commanding total of 284 for 6 from their 50 overs.
The return of key player Ravindarnath Rampaul after missing the earlier matches due to injuries have also boosted their morale to a great extent. The right arm fast bowler from Trinidad is considered as one of their brightest prospects and was in good form capturing three wickets for 41 from his ten overs against South Africa.
With Lionel Baker also bowling well under these conditions they are certain to provide the England batsmen a torrid time. England may be quite aware that run making was quite difficult in the first semifinal between India and Pakistan which was played at the same venue. Even then England's strength in this tournament has been their batting and they have proved it by compiling over three hundred runs on a couple of occasions.
England's other plus point is that they go into this semifinal game having notched up a morale boosting five win over Pakistan in their last Super League fixture. In this game they really proved that they are capable of standing under pressure where they successfully defended a modest total of 196 runs.
England (from): Alastair Cook (captain), Smit Patel, Michael Davis, Ravinder Bopara, Adam Harrison, Tim Bresnan, James Hildreth, Daniel Braodbent, Mark Lawson, Thomas New, Liam Plunkett, Mark Turner, Alexander Stiff, Luke Wright.
West Indies (from): Denish Ramdin (captain), Kirk Edwards, Assad Fudadin, Barrington Yearwood, Xavier Marshall, Lendl Simmons, Ravindarnath Rampaul, Jonathan Augustus, Rishi Bachan, Mervin Mathew, Lionel Baker, Zamal Khan, Tishan Maraj, Liam Sebastian.
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