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Stuart Dalgleish 16th Mar 2011 - 21:44

Last chance saloon for England

England v West Indies - Thursday 09:00 live on Sky Sports 1

After their defeat to Bangladesh, England (4/6) face a must-win game against West Indies (6/5) to progress to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Andy Flower's team are just 6/5 to be eliminated at the group stage, having been 9/1 before the tournament started, they've gone out to 12/1 to win the whole thing having been 7/1 at the outset.

Despite all that I've seen before me, I still believe that England can be contenders, and I certainly wouldn't be put off having a few quid at 12s; the only problem would be that they might have to face Australia, and we saw in the ODI series after the Ashes, that doesn't end well!

I've said it all along, when this England team gels together in all departments, they are a top class side; unfortunately they're yet to perform with bat and ball in the same match at this World Cup.

Up against some tough performers in the West Indies team, they really need it all to click or their long winter will finally be over.

I have to hold my hands up and say I was wrong about the Windies (or at least I am so far); I thought they would be in a battle with Bangladesh for the final qualifying spot, but they've performed better than expected.

Unlike England, they've managed to perform in both departments, and they've really punished the so called minnows; 215-run win over Holland, 9-wicket win against Bangladesh, 44-run victory in the Ireland match; they've stamped their authority in matches and put it beyond their opponents.

England on the other hand haven't played terribly or amazingly in any game, they've taken advantages of opportunities presented to them and vice versa in all five of their entertaining matches.

For the sake of this World Cup, it would be good for England to qualify as they've given the crowds value for money, but in terms of who's played the better cricket, West Indies are probably more deserving of a place in the next round.

The Windies will be boosted by the return of Chris Gayle (3/1 top WI batsman), the powerful opener missed the win over Ireland with an abdominal strain but he is expected to be fit for this match.

He is the only injury concern for Darren Sammy (5/1 top WI bowler) to worry about, but what the skipper will be pondering is whether or not to put an extra spinner in his attack after seeing Bangladesh perform so well against England.

Devendra Bishoo is waiting in the wings if Sammy chooses to play him with tweakers Nikita Miller (9/2 top WI bowler) and Sulieman Benn (5/2), the impressive fast bowler Kemar Roach (5/2) is a certainty to play.

England seem to have the same problem they have had all tournament; how much longer do they keep faith with James Anderson (7/2 top England bowler)?

Normally England's premier bowler, Jimmy has looked a shadow of his former self in the subcontinent and is proving to be a wasted place in the starting XI.

Chris Tremlett (4/1) is in contention, but it might be too big an ask to throw a fast bowler straight into the attack for a match of this magnitude.

Ajmal Shahzad (4/1) arguably looked England's best bowler against Bangladesh, and would be rightly upset if he were to be left out of this match, we still haven't seen the best of the normally reliable Michael Yardy (6/1), but the pitch might just keep the slow left-armer in the team.

England's misfiring batting line-up is likely to remain the same, Matt Prior (9/2 top England batsman) opening with Andrew Strauss (10/3) and Eoin Morgan (9/2) at 5, England were shown exactly what they've been missing with the Irish-born batsman's return.



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