Cricket: Ireland defeated by West Indies
Devon Smith's patient century and Kieron Pollard's quickfire 94 guided the West Indies to a 44-run victory in their World Cup Group B match against Ireland in Mohali today.
Opener Smith scored 107 off 133 balls to set up Pollard's 55-ball blitz, which helped the West Indies recover admirably from 130 for three in 32 overs to reach 275 all out in 50 overs.
Ed Joyce (84 off 106) and Gary Wilson (61 off 62) kept giant-killers Ireland in the hunt for the large part of their chase, but a late collapse saw them bowled out for 231.
Sulieman Benn (four for 53) and Darren Sammy (three for 31) shared seven wickets between them to bring the Windies back into the game after being threatened by Joyce and Wilson.
The West Indies started steadily after being asked to bat first thanks mainly to an 89-run stand between openers Smith and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
But by then the Windies were into their 25th over and a double strike from Kevin O'Brien then saw off Chanderpaul (35 off 62) and new man Darren Bravo (nought).
Ramnaresh Sarwan (10) went cheaply but Smith and Pollard took the battle to the opposition with their blistering stand, which helped the Windies regain momentum.
The duo scored 89 runs off just 63 balls before O'Brien saw off a tired Smith seven runs after reaching his maiden one-day century.
West Indies scored 55 in the batting power play as Pollard completed his third one-day 50 off just 35 balls and added 36 off 20 for the seventh wicket with Andre Russell.
Pollard, however, missed out on his maiden century by six runs, but the late flourish saw the Windies add 145 in 18 overs.
The big-hitter smashed 20 off O'Brien and in all hit five sixes and eight fours, but the West Indies lost three wickets in two overs to be bowled out for 275 on the last ball of the innings. O'Brien finished with four for 71.
In reply, Joyce kept Ireland's hopes alive with his terrific innings after the early loss of Paul Stirling and captain William Porterfield.
The left-hander brought up his third half-century off 67 balls and added 36 and 44 with Porterfield and Niall O'Brien respectively before a bigger partnership with Wilson brought the 276 target within Ireland's sight.
With 128 runs required off 96 balls, Wilson switched gears, hitting Nikita Miller for six over mid-wicket and reverse-sweeping the same bowler's next over for two consecutive boundaries.
Paceman Russell, however, provided the breakthrough by yorking Joyce out when on 84, but the 91-run stand set Ireland up for a final push at the target.
Wilson soon brought up his fifth ODI 50 off 52 balls, but O'Brien, the hero of the sensational victory over England, fell cheaply thanks to a brilliant catch in the deep by Pollard.
The equation was soon down to 79 off 54 balls at nearly nine per over, but Sammy dealt a huge blow to Ireland by trapping Wilson lbw for 61, although the batsman challenged the decision unsuccessfully.
But the controversial DRS rule came under focus once again with Asoka de Silva standing by his original decision despite Wilson appearing to have pushed outside the line and got the pad outside the line of off-stump.
Ireland then lost wickets in quick succession as Alex Cusack, Andre Botha and John Mooney were sent swiftly back to the pavilion to reduce the minnows to 216 for nine.
With 60 required from the last four overs the last-wicket pair George Dockrell (19) and Boyd Rankin delayed the inevitable for a while before eventually folding at 231 with six balls remaining.