Pollard powers Windies to win over Irish

Mohali, India – West Indies played excellent allround cricket to beat Ireland by 44 runs in their ICC Cricket World Cup Group B match at the Punjab Cricket Association Ground on Friday.

The victory took the Windies to six points from four matches as they moved closer to a spot in the quarter-finals. Put into bat on a fresh surface at the early morning start, West Indies made 275 off 50 overs and then bowled out the Irish for 231 to win by 44 runs and move to second spot in the group.

The Windies opened with Shiv Chanderpaul and Devon Smith as regular opener Chris Gayle sat out with a slight abdominal strain. The left-handed Smith (107) struck his maiden One-Day International century but it was Kieron Pollard’s amazing power-hitting which stole the show.

Smith added 89 with Chanderpaul (35) for the opening stand before Pollard joined him in the middle to hit five sixes and eight fours in his belligerent knock of 94 off 55 balls that helped West Indies to put behind a sluggish start and post a winning target.

The Irish bowling was tidy with seamer Kevin O’Brien (4-71) being the pick of them, who were superbly backed by their agile colleagues in the field. He halted Windies progress with his double strikes in the 25th over when he removed Chanderpaul and in-form Darren Bravo.

Pollard, however, had other ideas. The strapping all-rounder got his eyes in before tearing apart the Irish attack with his amazing shots, which included a one-handed six over midwicket. Pollard was cruising to his maiden ODI century when he holed out in the 49th over, trying to make the most of the remaining deliveries.

In the second half of the match, Ed Joyce (84) and Gary Wilson (61) fought bravely but Ireland could manage only 231 as they lost all their wickets in 49 overs. A 91-run partnership between Joyce and Wilson kept Ireland in the hunt before the impressive debutant Andre Russell struck a crucial blow in the 38th over when his yorker which uprooted Joyce’s middle stump.

Whatever hopes Ireland, who stunned England in Bangalore earlier this month, had of pulling off their second upset of the tournament vanished when Pollard took a stunning catch running in from long-on to remove the dangerous O’Brien for five off skipper Darren Sammy.

Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn (4-53) again used the new ball well, while Sammy’s first three overs were maidens and he ended with 3-31 off his 10 overs.

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