Shamik Das


Sunday, March 25, 2007

England avoid embarrassment to qualify for Super 8s

The England players observe a minute's silence in memory of Bob Woolmer

St Lucia, World Cup, Group C: England 178/3 (33 overs; max 43) beat Kenya 177 (43 overs) by seven wickets

England made it third time lucky last night as they sneaked into the last eight of the World Cup almost unnoticed for the first time since 1996.

Having failed to make the cut on home soil eight years ago and again in South Africa last time around Duncan Fletcher's men made light work of Kenya, dispatching the 2003 semi-finalists with ease.

After overnight rain had delayed the start for two hours England's bowlers struck early - removing Ravindu Shah for just 4 and Maurice Ouma for a painfully slow 13 - as the Kenyans found themselves 35 for 2 with more than 10 overs already used up.

Ed Joyce salutes the crowd on reaching 50    Steve Tikolo gets a pat on the back from Andrew Flintoff after the Englishman bowled him for 76

Steve Tikolo restored the Kenyans' pride with a battling 76, but with the next highest score Jimmy Kamande's 17 the Africans were never in danger of pulling off a win, setting a mediocre 178 at a little over 4 an over.

Though Michael Vaughan (1) and Ian Bell (16) were out cheaply Ed Joyce (75) and Kevin Pietersen (56*) put on 103 for the third wicket to steer England home with ten overs to spare.

Next up for England a game against Ireland on Friday; for Kenya, an early flight home.

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