Chennai -Relieved skipper Andrew Strauss praised his team's hunger and desire after England kept their Cricket World cup dreams alive by beating the West Indies in a thrilling match on Thursday.
England, batting first, were off to a solid start but lost wickets throughout their innings and were bowled out for 243. Jonathan Trott top-scored with 47 and Luke Wright made 44.
In reply, Chris Gayle tore into the English attack, making 43 off only 21 balls but nobody reached 50 and they were all out for 225 despite a battling stand of 72 for the seventh wicket between Andre Russell and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
"It's been pretty hard work all the way through the group stages. Today was obviously a tough game, a must-win game. We probably didn't get as many runs on the board as we should have done," Strauss said.
"We probably should have got 260, 270 at least but we had to fight hard with the ball. I thought we did that brilliantly. The guys stuck together, showed their hunger and desire and that was enough to get us over the line."
Strauss blamed a lack of consistency for the team's rollercoaster ride at the tournament, during which they have lost to Ireland and Bangladesh but beaten South Africa and West Indies and tied with co-hosts India.
"We've just been inconsistent, there's no doubt about it. We haven't played as well as we'd have liked this tournament but we've pulled out some results when we've really needed them."
"Obviously we're still waiting on other results but hopefully we've done enough to get through to the last eight," he added.
"I think it goes down to the spirit in the side, obviously a very close-knit unit. We've been through a lot together," Strauss said, praising man-of-the-match James Tredwell, who took 4-48 and Wright, who have been on the periphery of the squad.
But Strauss said England still had to improve, adding: "We just have to be more clinical."
Bowler Graeme Swann (3-36) said he thought England were on their way home.
"Every game we play just gets tighter and tighter. I'd given that one up for dead five minutes ago."
"The huddle at the end there, that was up there with the Ashes for the raw emotion shown. We've dug ourselves our own hole and slowly but surely we're trying to climb out of it and today's a step towards that."
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was disappointed that none of his batsmen went on to make a big score.
"I think one of our guys who got starts had to take us through."
"We have a few positives we can take from this game," he added. "But at the end of the day we lost, we missed the killer instinct."
"I was quite happy chasing 243 although we could have restricted them a little bit more but bearing in mind the start we had my bowlers did well to pull it back," he said, praising Russell and Devendra Bishoo (3-34).