Before the game had even got underway, we promised you there would be drama, excitement and entertainment in this match. That is exactly what we got West Indies Legends managed to dig in deep and pip the England Legends for the last spot in the knockout stages with a win off the last ball of the match.
England Legends were sent out to bat first by the West Indies Legends, who won the toss. England Legends performed extremely well with the bat, with Kevin Pietersen 38(24), Phil Mustard 57(41) and Owais Shah 53*(30) all getting good scores as they propelled their team to a score closer to the 200-run mark. England Legends were in pole position in the first innings to seal their place in the semi-finals.
Conceding 186 runs in 20 overs never spells out words of praise for the bowling attack, and the same holds true for the West Indies' attack. They were subpar for the most part, but Dwayne Smith and Suliemann Benn were the two positives. The former returned with figures of 2/31 in his four overs. His victims? Kevin Pietersen and Phil Mustard. Suliemann Benn was also brilliant in his first three overs and only went for a few runs at the back end of the innings.
Coming to the second innings, it looked like Dwayne Smith had seemingly taken some kind of inspiration from T. Dilshan, and his all-round heroics as he wrecked carnage with the blade on his way to 58 off just 31 deliveries. He gave the West Indies Legends a very strong start and a sturdy foundation to build on. After he departed, Narsingh Deonarine was joined by Kirk Edwards in the middle. As expected, the England Legends bowling attack ebbed the flow of boundaries after Smith departed. However, the thing that decided which way this match was going to go was the running between the wickets. Deonarine and Edwards initially ran themselves ragged to keep the scoreboard ticking, and that kept up the pressure on the England Legends team. Deonarine played an innings of composure and brilliance and took it to the final over of the game. With 2 balls remaining and 1 run needed, it seemed like Brian Lara would finish off the chase in style and take his team home. However, he was dismissed and the it went down to the last ball. Tino Best was given the responsibilty to take his team home and he just about managed to do that, scraping through for a run and taking his team to the next round.
It was England Legends' bowling that let them down big time in this match. They were tame and were milked very easily by the West Indies' batsmen throughout the game. Dwayne Smith in particular took them apart and exposed their flaws. Tredwell and Tremlett still conceded the most runs but picked two wickets apiece. Monty Panesar was watched away carefully by the West Indies batters and that looked like to be the plan all along for England Legends' most dangerous bowler in this tournament.
The West Indies Legends will look to improve on one thing. The bowling in the middle overs was actually reasonably good, but they were pretty expensive at the death. Their opponents in the semi-finals, India Legends, have been absolutely ruthless with the bat in the last 4 overs. The West Indies will look to improve on that in the small amount of time they have before the semis.
The England Legends have been quite polarising, dropping masterclasses one day and crumbling under pressure the next. They have been a relevation though, and it is a shame to see them bow out of the tournament so soon. They bow out, but not before giving us yet another incredible game. A fabulous watch, and a fitting end to an exciting league stage. On to the semi-finals then!
Brief scores :
West Indies Legends 187/5 in 20 overs (D. Smith 58(31), N. Deonarine 53*(37) ; J. Tredwell 2/35, C. Tremlett 2/37) beat England Legends 186/3 in 20 overs (P. Mustard 57(41), O. Shah 53*(30); D. Smith 2/31, S. Benn 1/32) by 5 wickets.