MOHALI: Devon Smith struck his maiden ODI century and Kieron Pollard hit 94 off 55 balls as the West Indies recovered from a slow start to post 275 all out in 50 overs against Ireland in their World Cup Group B match here Friday.
The West Indies were struggling at 89 for two in 24.2 before Smith (107) and Pollard put up 88 runs off 63 balls for the fourth wicket to shore up the scoring at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium. For Ireland, medium Kevin O’Brien took his career best figures of four for 71 from nine overs.
It was Pollard’s best ODI score and he smashed eight fours and five sixes during his whirlwind knock. His five sixes were the most by a batsman in this World Cup. Pollard, however, missed out on a well deserved maiden century when he was caught at long off Boyd Ranking, trying to loft medium pacer John Mooney.
Both the sides were without their key players. West Indies had to rest their explosive opener Chris Gayle, who suffered an abdominal strain, while Irish paceman Trent Johnston, who was nursing a bruised knee, failed the fitness test.
In the absence of Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul (35) opened the batting with Smith but Irish paceman bowled a disciplined line and length to restrict them from scoring freely. The greenshirts were exceptional on the field and put the pressure on the batsmen.
Rankin and Alex Cusack, shared the new ball for Ireland on the bouncy track and produced two successive maiden overs before runs started to flow from Smith and Chanderpaul’s blades.
Yet, it was a slow start and just when it looked to flourish, Kevin struck twice within three balls at 89 to remove Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo.
Chanderpaul’s uppish drive found William Porterfield while Bravo missed a fuller length delivery that crashed onto his middle stump.
Ramnaresh Sarwan (10) survived 19 balls before he mistimed a shot to hand a catch to Mooney off left-arm spinner George Dockrell.
Smith, who came in the squad as a replacement for the injured Adrian Barath, kept the scoreboard ticking at one end. With Pollard, he batted with urgency to accelerate the scoring.
Pollard was at his destructive best as he clubbed the Irish medium pacers all over the park with the West Indies fetching 55 runs in the third Powerplay.
Smith brought up his century off 124 balls with 11 fours and a six and Pollard soon followed it up with his brisk half-century which came in 35 balls with five fours and two sixes. Smith’s innings was brought to an end by another Kevin O’Brien delivery that knocked off the bails. His dismissal, however, did not hinder Pollard’s surge even as the rest of West Indies batsmen fell cheaply.(IANS)