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Pollard pulverises Ireland

Vijay Lokapally

Smith's ton and poor fielding by the Irish make it Windies' day

— Photo: AFP

BREATHTAKING ASSAULT:The poor Irish bowling attack was left clueless when West Indian Kieron Pollard, seen here sending one to the fence, waded into it and played an array of audacious shots.

MOHALI: He is not rated high by some of the old stalwarts back in the Caribbean but Kieron Pollard can be priceless and he proved it on Friday.

A blistering show with the bat was complemented by a stunning catch running and sprawling in front and the West Indies stayed on course to gain a quarterfinal berth in the World Cup.

A century by Devon Smith had frustrated the Ireland attack and the 44–run win was in keeping with the much-promised and much-awaited West Indian resurgence.

A motley crowd turned up at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here in anticipation of an Irish dominance but the team failed to replicate its victory over England.

Inexperience

The inexperience factor loomed large over Ireland's campaign and it turned out to be a huge disappointment for the fans.

Chris Gayle reported with an abdominal sprain in the morning but Smith stepped in to put the innings on a firm course.

The old West Indian flair at the crease returned with Smith's stylish knock. He adapted and dominated even as Pollard tormented the opposition in his inimitable style.

Smith loves building the innings, pacing and placing his strokes. Not Pollard. The burly striker can't resist a lusty blow.

There were many in this innings which just exploded from his bat and laid the Irish low.

After beginning with two maiden overs, West Indies recovered at good pace.

The bowlers then took over and stifled the Irish with a clinical display.

The century by Smith, his first in 17 ODIs, was timely. It was flawless, crafted on the strength of his ability to play discreetly and executed with rare maturity.

Unimpressive batting

Coming into the side as a replacement for Adrian Barath, the left-handed opener made up for the unimpressive batting by Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Smith's 88-run partnership with Man-of-the-match Pollard for the fourth wicket gave West Indies hope.

The Irish tried all possible angles and variations in line and length but Pollard could not be shackled.

Pollard's calculated assault with sixes and fours raining from mid-wicket to long-on left Ireland licking its wounds.

Ironically, it was fielding that let Ireland down and what hurt it the most was the life to Pollard at 19 when Gary Wilson grassed him at long-on off Andrew Botha.

Ireland suffered early jolts but progressed on the strength of Ed Joyce's brilliant innings.

He was supported well by Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson but a contentious leg-before decision left Ireland high and dry. The Irish skipper, William Porterfield, maintained the Wilson decision cost them the match but his team paid the price for a slack approach in the first two Powerplays.

The catch by Pollard to get rid of the dangerous Kevin O'Brien swung the contest West Indies' way but the fact was Ireland lacked a finisher.

West Indies: D. Smith b K. O'Brien 107 ( 133b, 11x4, 1x6), S. Chanderpaul c Porterfield b K. O'Brien 35 ( 62b, 3x4), D. Bravo b K. O'Brien 0 ( 3b), R. Sarwan c Mooney b Dockrell 10 ( 19b, 1x4), K. Pollard c Rankin b Mooney 94 ( 55b, 8x4, 5x6), D. Sammy c Dockrell b K. O'Brien 4 ( 3b), D. Thomas c N. O'Brien b Rankin 2 ( 8b), A. Russell b Mooney 3 ( 7b), N. Miller (not out) 5 ( 6b), S. Benn (run out) 2 ( 2b), K. Roach c Stirling b Botha 1 ( 2b); Extras (b-3, lb-6, w-3): 12; Total (in 50 overs): 275.

Fall of wickets: 1-89, 2-89, 3-130, 4-218, 5-222, 6-228, 7-267, 8-267, 9-272.

Ireland bowling: Rankin 10-1-35-1, Cusack 7-1-22-0, Mooney 9-0-58-2, Botha 10-0-56-1, K. O'Brien 9-0-71-4, Stirling 2-0-9-0, Dockrell 3-0-15-1.

Ireland: W. Porterfield c sub b Sammy 11 ( 34b, 2x4), P. Stirling c Sammy b Benn 5 ( 6b, 1x4), E. Joyce b Russell 84 ( 106b, 9x4), N. O'Brien b Benn 25 ( 31b, 2x4), G. Wilson lbw b Sammy 61 ( 62b, 6x4, 1x6), K. O'Brien c Pollard b Sammy 5 ( 9b), A. Cussack st Thomas b Benn 2 ( 5b), J. Mooney b Roach 6 ( 7b, 1x40), A. Botha (run out) 0 ( 7b), G. Dockrell b Benn 19 ( 19b, 3x4), W. Rankin (not out) 5 ( 9b); Extras (lb-4, nb-1, w-3): 8, Total (in 49 overs): 231.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-42, 3-86, 4-177, 5-187, 6-199, 7-199, 8-201, 9-215.

West Indies bowling: Roach 8-0-34-1, Benn 10-0-53-4, Sammy10-3-31-3, Russell10-2-37-1, Pollard 5-0-32-0, Miller 6-0-40-0.

Man of the match: Kieron Pollard .

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