12 Mar 2011

Windies beat Ireland to go second in group B

6:58 am on 12 March 2011

Kieron Pollard hammered a swashbuckling 94 and then returned to take a stunning catch to script West Indies' 44-run victory over a brave Irish side and brighten the team's cricket World Cup quarter-final prospects.

Opener Devon Smith (107) struck his maiden ODI century but it was Pollard's 55-ball power-hitting exhibition that enabled West Indies to put behind a sluggish start and post 275 all out in the Group B match.

When they returned to defend, Pollard dived full-length at long on to remove the biggest threat in the opposition rank, Kevin O'Brien, and facilitate the team's third successive victory in the tournament.

As long as Ed Joyce (84) and Gary Wilson (61) were in the middle, Ireland were justified in believing that they had decent chances of pulling off their second upset victory in the tournament, having humbled England previously in Bangalore.

The 91-run partnership between the two kept them in the hunt before debutant Andre Russell struck a crucial blow in the 38th over when his yorker pegged back Joyce's stump.

The remaining Irish hopes vanished in the 40th over when Kevin O'Brien fell after Pollard took the stunner off skipper Daren Sammy's bowling and his animated celebration revealed how crucial the wicket was.

The spin-pace combination of Sulieman Benn (4-53) and Sammy (3-31) caused most of the damage.

The West Indies are currently second in Group B, one point behind India who have seven points.