Pollard, Benn star for Windies
A stunning innings from Kieron Pollard and four wickets for Sulieman Benn propelled West Indies to a 44-run win over Ireland in their World Cup Group B match at the Punjab Cricket Association Ground in Mohali, India on Friday.
Pollard blazed his way to 94 off 55 balls, while opener Devon Smith scored a more sedate 107 off 133 deliveries, as West Indies posted 275 all out after being asked to bat.
Ireland made a decent fist of their reply, thanks to half-centuries from Ed Joyce and Gary Wilson, but their challenge faded away as they were bowled out for 231 with one over of their innings remaining with left-arm spinner Benn finishing with figures of four for 53 off 10 overs.
The West Indies had battled to score with much fluency during their innings in the face of a disciplined performance with the ball and in the field from Ireland.
But Pollard, who came to the crease with his team on 130 for three after 32 overs, launched an innings for which he has become known as he bashed eight fours and five sixes during his knock.
The left-handed Smith proved to be the perfect foil and the 29-year-old brought up his maiden one-day international (ODI) hundred off 124 balls.
Smith and Pollard plundered 88 runs for the fourth wicket off just 10.3 overs as the pair took advantage of a good batting wicket which provided decent bounce and carry.
Smith departed when he was bowled by medium-pacer Kevin O’Brien while Pollard departed in the 49th over when he holed out to long-off off the bowling of seamer John Mooney within sight of his maiden ODI century.
The Windies lost wickets in clumps with O’Brien taking two wickets in an over twice, first when he had opening bat Shivnarine Chanderpaul (35) caught at short extra cover before he bowled Darren Bravo (0).
Ramnaresh Sarwan (10) was caught at long-off, off the bowling of left-arm spinner George Dockrell, before O’Brien’s second burst saw him dismiss Smith and have Darren Sammy (4) caught at fine leg.
O’Brien was the most successful bowler as he finished with figures of four for 71 off nine overs.
The Windies lost their last wicket off the last ball of the innings when Kemar Roach (1) sliced a delivery from medium-pacer Andre Botha straight to backward point.
Ireland looked to have gained the upper-hand during their run-chase as Joyce and Wilson put on 91 runs off 99 balls for the fourth-wicket.
Joyce, who played some elegant shots during his knock, weighed in with 84 off 106 balls, his first ODI fifty for Ireland, to go with three fifties and a hundred he scored for England.
Wilson was not at fluent at the crease as Joyce but he nevertheless pitched in with 61 off 62 deliveries.
But, with Ireland needing 99 runs for victory off 12.3 overs, Joyce was bowled by debutant seamer Andre Russell before Wilson was involved in a controversial dismissal when he was given out leg-before by umpire Asoka de Silva off a delivery from seamer Sammy.
Wilson asked to the decision to be reviewed and replays showed that he was struck outside the line of his off-stump. However, umpire De Silva felt that the batsman had not played a stroke causing Wilson to have a few words with De Silva with the umpire sticking with his on-field decision.
Replays did show that Wilson had indeed played a stroke and could consider himself a touch unlucky to be given out.
Wilson’s dismissal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Ireland and they lost their last five wickets for the addition of 32 runs.
Benn was well supported by his captain Sammy, who finished with three for 31 off 10 overs with his first three overs being maidens.
West Indies - Devon Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Andre Russell , Kieron Pollard, Devon Thomas (wk), Darren Sammy (capt), Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Kemar Roach.
Ireland - William Porterfield (capt), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien (wk), Gary Wilson, Kevin O'Brien, Alex Cusack, John Mooney, Andre Botha, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin.