England defeat Windies in Lara’s last match

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, April 21, 2007 (AFP) – A Kevin Pietersen-inspired England kept their promise of winning the last World Cup match for coach Duncan Fletcher when they beat the West Indies by one wicket here on Saturday. Gayle exploded with a flurry of big shots, once severely punishing seamer Liam Plunkett. He cracked two fours and as many sixes in an over before racing to his half-century off just 29 balls.

In-form Pietersen smashed a robust 100 and skipper Michael Vaughan regained form with a timely 79 as England surpassed their rivals’ total of 300 with one ball to spare in a thrilling Super Eights “match of farewells”.

It was also the last international appearance for West Indies captain Brian Lara, who would be disappointed with his team’s below-par bowling show in the second round.

England finished fifth and the West Indies sixth after defending champions Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa had qualified for the semi-finals.

Vaughan had said his team desperately wanted to win the game for their coach whose eight-year stint with England ended with this match. He himself led from the front with his first half-century in nine Cup matches.

England were struggling at 189-6 before