ENGLAND are doing their best to make the Cricket World Cup interesting – and for the sake of a competition that is far too long every lover of the one-day game must be praying Andrew Strauss and his men make it through to the quarter-finals.

For the sixth match in succession, England were involved in a rollercoaster of a contest. This time it was a thriller against the West Indies which swung back and forth right through to the end before England kept their World Cup campaign alive with a dramatic 18-run win.

Jonathan Trott (47) gave England a fast start but wickets tumbled in the middle overs and they were dismissed for 243. The Windies looked to be cruising to victory at 222-6 in the 42nd over, but amazingly collapsed to 225 all out.

The win means England are through to the quarter-finals-  unless Bangladesh beat South Africa on Saturday and the West Indies get at least a point against India. And that would put England just two victories away from the World Cup final.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, summarising on BBC Radio’s Test Match Special, said Strauss’s side should not be ruled out in an open tournament lacking a truly outstanding team.

“You wouldn’t think England are playing well enough at the moment to win the World Cup, and they haven’t yet produced an all-round performance – but they’ve proved that in these tight games, all you need is to score one more than the opposition.”

Hosts India need England to stay in a tournament that is far too long spread over six weeks. The Final in Mumbai is not until April 2.

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