England stay on track, Akhtar calls it quits

NEW DELHI, March 17, 2011 (AFP) – England stayed alive at the World Cup on Thursday with a dramatic 18-run over the West Indies while international cricket prepared to say farewell to controversial Pakistan star Shoaib Akhtar. Off-spinners James Tredwell and Graeme Swann took seven wickets between them as England triumphed in Chennai.

West Indies, chasing 244 for victory, were 222 for six after a stand of 72 between Ramnaresh Sarwan (31) and all-rounder Andre Russell (49) rescued them from the depths of 150 for six.

But they lost their final four wickets for three runs to finish on 225 all out, with Sulieman Benn the last man dismissed when he was run out by Jonathan Trott’s throw to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Despite the victory England still are not certain of a quarter-final spot. If Bangladesh beat South Africa on Saturday, England will need India to beat West Indies on Sunday in the concluding match of the first round.

“It’s been pretty hard work all the way through the group stages. Today was obviously a tough game, a must-win game,” said England skipper Andrew Strauss.

“We probably should have got 260, 270 at least but we had to fight hard with the ball. I thought we did that brilliantly.”