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It is impossible to emulate Gayle: Virat Kohli

News4u-Sports Desk-NEW DELHI: Chris Gayle is considered as one of the hardest hitting openers of the game and India vice-captain Virat Kohli feels that it’s difficult to emulate the West Indian because matching his exploits is almost impossible.

“I understand that it’s better to play to your own strengths rather than emulating someone like Chris because matching him is almost impossible. Only he can bat like that,” said Kohli.

“Chris Gayle is the hardest hitter of the cricket ball in the world,” he added.

Kohli, who shares the dressing room with Gayle as a part of the IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore, however admitted that batting with the talismanic opener could be extremely intimidating.

“The most difficult thing is to keep yourself safe!,” he said jokingly.

“On a serious note, batting with someone like Gayle can be very intimidating. When you see him batting like that at the other end, you might get bogged down with the pressure of coping with his strike-rate.

“It also works the other way. You don’t need to worry about the scoring rate because he’s doing all the hitting at the other end. You only have to ensure the wickets are intact,” Kohli said.

Kohli, who had also led the Royal Challengers in the last edition of the IPL in the absence of injured skipper Daniel Vettori, said leading the team was “a fun experience”.

“I was a bit nervous in the beginning. But once I took the field and started to think as a captain, I was fine. I was very well-supported by everyone in the team in terms of what I planned and what fields I wanted to set. That made me pretty relaxed. It was a fun experience for me,” he revealed.

The 23-year-old lad from Delhi said he would like to imbibe a few qualities from each of his Royal Challengers’ captains.

“From Rahul Dravid, I’d want to imbibe his patience. He is very calm and patient under the most pressure-filled situations. If your side is losing, as a captain it’s not easy to control your emotions. But Rahul bhai does it so wonderfully well.

“I want Anil Kumble’s competitiveness and the never-say-die attitude. He not only motivates his team but also sets an example for everyone to follow by putting in his 100 per cent effort in the field.

“Vettori’s composure is tremendous. The way he backs his bowlers in crunch times is especially amazing. I’d like to learn that from him,” explained Kohli.

Comparing the past and current RCB teams, Kohli said, “Honestly, I think we had the best squad in 2009. With the quality of players we had then — the likes of Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Ross Taylor, Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn — it was a really strong side.

“Having said that, even now we have some big names, like AB de Villiers, Zaheer Khan, Chris Gayle and Daniel Vettori. What makes the current team even stronger is that we gel really well as a team.”

Despite a busy cricketing calendar, Kohli said he was looking forward to getting back on the cricket field.

“Yes, I’m really looking forward to batting again for RCB. IPL has always been a fun time for the players to enjoy some exciting T20 cricket,” he said.

The fifth edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin in Chennai from April 4.PTI


Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle

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Bishoo bashes Bangladesh as Windies claim series

 

News4u-Sports Desk-

Spinner Davendra Bishoo completed his maiden five-wicket haul as Bangladesh collapsed either side of lunch on the fifth day of the second test to succumb to a 229-run defeat to the West Indies on Wednesday.

 

Resuming after the interval on 263 for six, Bangladesh lost their last four wickets for just 15 runs in a little over seven overs to be dismissed for 278 as the tourists secured a 1-0 victory in the two-match series.

Bishoo claimed two wickets in the first over after the break when he trapped Nasir Hossain lbw for three before Suhrawadi Shuvo offered up a catch to skipper Darren Sammy at slip without scoring a couple of deliveries later.

Naeem Islam (three) soon fell to Bishoo to give the leg-spinner his fifth wicket, before Kemar Roach bowled last man Rubel Hossain (also for three) to complete an easy victory that had appeared to be drifting away from the tourists earlier on.

West Indies were largely frustrated in the morning session before they removed home skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan in a three-over span before lunch after the duo frustrated had them with a dogged 88-run fifth-wicket stand.

Sammy claimed the wicket of Shakib, who managed to spoil all of his good work by mistiming an improvised shot that took a leading edge to Shivnarine Chanderpaul at slip for 55.

Rahim soon followed when Bishoo bowled him for 69 to expose the tail and the spinner eventually finished with test-best figures of 5-90 as Bangladesh lost their last six wickets for 22 runs in less than 12 overs.

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Honours even after 13 wickets on first day

News4u - Sports Desk : The first day of the first Test nearly replayed itself on the first day of the second Test, albeit on a much truer and bouncier pitch. Ravi Rampaul ran through the top order again, with figures of 8-5-4-3 at lunch. Suresh Raina was again involved in a middle-session comeback, only this time the dominating partner in that partnership was the soothing VVS Laxman. It would have been too much to keep him from runs on difficult tracks for the third time in a row. Once again West Indies roared back in the final session through Devendra Bishoo’s big wickets and Fidel Edward’s sharp pace. To add more to an eventful day, Indian bowlers got rid of the openers for next to nothing in the last hour.

There was a lot of pace, a lot of bounce, bouncers, yorkers, some turn, there were lovely wristy flicks and whips, there were cover-drives. It went 38 for 4 to 155 for 4 to 201 all out, and then 30 for 3. You’ll have trouble fitting in more twists and action in one day of cricket.

This was without doubt the closest pitch to what West Indies would have desired. True and high bounce, some moisture, and they won the toss and asked India to face the music. Rampaul’s tune wasn’t quite music for India, though. For the fourth time out of seven this season, he began an innings with a wicket in his first over. Abhinav Mukund was the unlucky one this one, falling to one that jumped off a length and took the shoulder of his bat. It could be argued that he could have left it alone on line.

Edwards was almost like a kid in a toy store, bowling bouncer after bouncer, getting carried away, making the batsmen play only 10 times in his first four overs. Captain Darren Sammy brought himself on early, and with his seventh delivery removed the man he had famously dropped in Jamaica. This was also perhaps the ball of the session: pitching on off, kicking at Rahul Dravid, leaving him, taking the glove.

M Vijay showed a mix of restraint and indiscipline in his 75-ball stay for 11, and with Edwards being ineffective even in his second spell India seemed on their way to recovery. Around 15 minutes before lunch, though, Rampaul came back with telling impact. With the first ball he got Vijay caught down the leg side, with the third he made Kohli look worse than he has in his young and promising international career. The ball angled in to him, left him after pitching, bounced high, and even as Kohli was preparing to play it, the ball hit the glove and lobbed off. As Jeff Dujon said, “The ball played him.”

Laxman, no stranger to scores such as 38 for 4, showed up after having gone AWOL in Jamaica. It was business as usual for him. With others around him in shackles, Laxman scored fluently and yet non-violently. First he pulled the bouncers for boundaries to put an end to the short-pitched stuff. In the last over before his lunch, he smacked Bishoo through midwicket.

He feasted on Rampaul when back from lunch. He whipped the first ball he faced in the second session past mid-on for two. The next he punched past point for four, and then glanced another for four more. If West Indies were not worried yet, Raina pulled out a couple of unorthodox shots, and we now had a sweeper-cover to allow them the singles.

When Edwards worked up some pace in the afternoon, Laxman was good at dropping his wrists under a 92mph bouncer. The sucker ball he flicked away fine of fine leg to reach his fifty out of a score for 93 for 4. There were signs that West Indies backed off too soon, as displayed by the presence of the sweeper-cover early on in the partnerships. Singles came, Raina’s fifty came, the partnership’s 100 came, tea came, but West Indies search for inspiration bore no result.

And then Bishoo found extra bounce, into Raina’s thigh pad, getting him caught bat-pad. Raina’s reaction suggested he hadn’t hit it. Front-on replays backed Raina’s claims, but one of the angles didn’t entirely rule out a touch of the glove. Had the DRS been employed in this series without the Hot Spot, it would have proved useless.

Be that as it may, nothing should take away from an entertaining Edwards spell. There were two sets of five wides over the head, there were no-balls, and there was serious pace and bounce. MS Dhoni fell to one that stopped, Harbhajan Singh found out he would need to fend at a bouncer to protect his face, Abhimanyu Mithun lost his leg stump while trying to save his legs.

At the other end, Laxman became the fourth Indian to 8000 Test runs overall and 1000 in the West Indies, but with wickets falling at the other end, runs dried up. Having scored just 12 off the previous 32 deliveries, Laxman went for the cut, the Bishoo legbreak got big on him, and was caught at cover-point.

With the ball swinging and bouncing, India added the final touches of evenness to the day’s proceedings by taking three wickets before stumps. Adrian Barath played a strange shot, guiding a rising Ishant Sharma delivery to gully, right off the middle of the bat. Lendl Simmons fell to Praveen Kumar’s late away swing. In the last over of the day, Abhimany Mithun produced a caught-behind verdict against Darren Bravo, who wasn’t impressed, but again he would have struggled to prove the umpire wrong, so inconclusive were the replays.

Another four-day finish was on the cards.

West Indies 30 for 3 (Ishant 1-8, Praveen 1-15, Mithun 1-7) trail India 201 (Laxman 85, Raina 53, Rampaul 3-38, Bishoo 3-46, Edwards 3-56) by 171 runs    CRICINFO

 

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Explosive batsman Gayle is WIPA ‘Cricketer of the Yr’

News4u-Sports Desk-Port of Spain (Trinidad), He might be a pariah in West Indies cricket right now but explosive batsman Chris Gayle was the toast of the annual Players Association awards, walking away with the ‘Cricketer of the Year’ trophy along with one another honour.

Gayle, who has been shunted out of the team after he accused the West Indies Cricket Board of leaving him in a lurch during recent injury problems, was named the 2010 West Indies Players Association (WIPA) Cricketer of the Year at last night’s eighth annual awards at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

Gayle, who top-scored in the IPL last month with a staggering 608 runs in 12 innings, edged out Shivnarine Chanderpaul, current West Indies captain Darren Sammy and energetic all-rounder Dwayne Bravo for the top award.pti

 

Chris Gayle

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Darren Sammy: We gave away 20 runs too many

Sports Desk - News4u : Port of Spain (Trinidad), West Indies cricket captain Darren Sammy said his bowlers gave away 20 runs too many which allowed India to raise what proved to be a winning total in their one-off Twenty20 match here.

Chasing 160, West Indies went down by 16 runs, their first T20 loss to India, yesterday and Sammy admitted his side lacked belief to rotate the strike and play spinners adequately.

“We gave away 20 runs too many. We allowed them too many boundary-balls,” lamented Sammy

“We gave them over 70 runs in the final five overs,” he said.

But batting was no better and no less than 50 balls or 8.2 overs of the West Indian innings were dot balls.

“When chasing such a competitive total, there is no way you can play so many dot balls and still expect to win,” he said.PTI

 

SAMMY

WEST INDIES CAPTAIN DARREN SAMMY

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Anti-aircraft guns, NSG to secure World Cup final in Mumbai

News4u - News Desk : NEW DELHI: Anti-aircraft guns will be strategically put in place and teams of the eliteNational Security Guards will join thousands of security personnel to provide security at the cricketWorld Cup final on April 2 at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

Though there is no specific threat to the much-awaited game where India will clash with Sri Lanka, the Centre is not taking any chances as President Pratibha Patil and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa are set to watch the encounter, sources said.

A sizable number of NSG commandos and around 400 central paramilitary personnel will assistMumbai Police to ensure foolproof security.

All air bases near Mumbai, Indian Navy and Coast Guard have been put on high alert to ensure security in the air and sea during the Saturday’s match which is also expected to be watched by a host of Union ministers, chief minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan and other leaders.

Quick Reaction Teams and women personnel of CRPF would be stationed at vital locations in and around the stadium to respond to any exigency.

Home ministry officials are in constant touch with Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra government to ensure security.

“There is no concern for security. We will ensure that everything goes off well in Mumbai,” a home ministry official said.

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Pakistan maul West Indies by 10-wickets, enter semis of WC

News4u-Sports Desk-Captain Shahid Afridi scalped four wickets and Mohammad Hafeez excelled with an all-round display as Pakistan spanked a spineless West Indies by 10 wickets to storm in the semifinal of the cricket World Cup in Mirpur on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

Pakistan bundled out the Caribbeans for a paltry 112 in just 43.3 overs and then overhauled the target with 29.1 overs to spare in a hugely-lopsided quarterfinal clash at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

Chasing just 113 to win, Mohammad Hafeez (61) and Kamran Akmal (47) toyed with the West Indies attack and stitched a 125-ball 113-run opening partnership to wrap up the match very easily and move into the semi-finals after a gap of 12 years.

The 1992 Champions Pakistan will now face the winner of the second quarterfinal between India and Australia at Ahmedabad in the semifinals.

Everything went right for Pakistan today, which also happens to be their national day, as Afridi’s men didn’t put a foot wrong after West Indies skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and sent them to field.

Hafeez’s two early wickets pushed West Indies on the backfoot right at the start of their innings and then Afridi picked four for 30 to dismiss two-time champions West Indies for their third lowest World Cup total.

Hafeez also shone with the bat and provided a blistering start to Pakistan’s runchase, clubbing a couple of fours off Kemar Roach in the very first over.

Hafeez picked up another boundary in the second over off Ravi Rampaul after his opening partner Kamran Akmal sent him across the rope in the second delivery.

Kamran blasted Roach for another four in the next over when his uppish cut kissed Kieron Pollard’s fingers at point before racing to the boundary. The wicketkeeper-batsman picked up another four off the pacer in his next over.

Spinner Devendra Bishoo and skipper Darren Sammy tried to put the break and bowled two maiden overs but Hafeez blasted a couple of fours off the former in his second over to take Pakistan across the 50-mark in eight overs.

Hafeez didn’t relent a bit and kept punishing the bowlers with utter disdain. He clipped one off the pad and then lifted one over midwicket, before sending Bishoo across the point boundary to race towards his half-century.

In the 17th over, Hafeez picked up another four off Rampaul to notch up the eighth half-century of his career off just 55 balls and then took Pakistan across the 100-mark in the 20th over.

Kamran too matched his partner shot by shot and remained unbeaten on 47 with the help of seven fours.

Earlier, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy’s decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired badly as they were reduced to 16 for three by the sixth over, with the dangerous Chris Gayle back in the pavilion.

Spearhead Gul gave Pakistan a dream start when he had Gayle caught at mid-off by none other than the skipper himself.

If losing Gayle so early was not bad enough, West Indies were dealt another body blow as the left-hander’s opening partner, Devon Smith, was trapped in front by Hafeez.

Hafeez was at the thick of things again when he had Darren Bravo caught plumb in front.

West Indies looked completely out of sorts against the guile and variation of the opposition bowlers, especially Hafeez, who picked up two wickets while conceding just 12 runs in his first spell of eight overs, which also had three maidens.

Afridi seemed pro-active in his approach and was looking for wickets at all costs, and at all times.

The skipper was in no mood to let go of the early advantage and therefore replaced first-change bowler Wahab Riaz after the left-arm seamer went wicket-less in his first three overs.

Afridi’s move paid dividends as he broke the 42-run partnership between Ramnaresh Sarwan (24) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (44 not out), the biggest of the innings.

Sarwan and Chanderpaul tried to steady the ship with a dodgy stand, but the duo’s effort proved to be insufficient in the prevailing circumstances.

Sarwan, while trying to break the shackles after consuming 68 deliveries, found Umar Akmal at Gully, giving Afridi his first wicket of the match, and 18th of the tournament.

Sarwan always looked in trouble against the Pakistani skipper and the leg-spinner could have had the West Indian had Gul not dropped an easy chance at widish long-off in his second over.

Bowling his fast, attacking leg-spinners to deadly effect, Afridi then had Kieron Pollard caught behind and followed that up with the wicket of Devon Thomas in the next ball.

Thomas’ scalp was Afridi’s 19th of the tournament, a Pakistani record. Wasim Akram (with 18 wickets in the 1992 edition in Australia and New Zealand) held the previous record.

Sammy survived the hat-trick ball but the damage was done by that time.

Ajmal joined the party by dismissing Sammy and Devendra Bishoo to make it 71 for six.

Chanderpaul added 40 valuable runs with number ten Kemar Roach to take his team past the 100-run mark before Abdul Razzaq cut short the tail-ender’s valiant innings.

Chanderpaul, for all his patience and doggedness at the crease, could not save his team from slipping further. The experienced left-hander remained unbeaten on 44 but gobbled up 106 deliveries to score his runs.

Chanderpaul’s pain-staking knock typified West Indies’ display with the bat. They could manage just 18 runs for the loss of three wickets in the mandatory powerplay, and were 36, though without further damage, at the end of the 15th over.

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Yuvraj’s all round show script India’s easy win over Windies

News4u-Sports Desk-Chennai,Yuvraj Singh smashed his maiden World Cup century and took two wickets as India crushed West Indies by 80 runs in their last Group B league match to set up a quarter-final clash against defending champions Australia, here on sunday.

With today’s win India finished second in group B with nine points, one less than top finisher South Africa. India will face Australia on Thursday in Ahmedabad.

Electing to bat, India suffered yet another late batting collapse to be all out for 268 in 49.1 overs after Yuvraj Singh’s brilliant knock of 113.

Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul took five for 51 to start the slide as India lost seven wickets for 50 runs in 7.4 overs.

India skittled out the Caribbean side for 188 with seven overs to spare as the spinners did an outstanding job.

Although India continued the collapse show again on the 4th consecutive time and were bundled out before 50 overs.

The bowlers did the job and you could find a happy MS Dhoni promising for a better show in the upcoming QF against the arch rival Australia.

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England beat West Indies to keep quarterfinal hopes alive

News4u-Sports Desk-England kept its nerve and its World Cup campaign alive with an 18-run win over West Indies at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai on Thursday.

 

 

Andre Russell (four for 49 and 49), playing in only his second World Cup match, threatened to dump England out of the tournament but nerveless bowling from Swann (three for 36) and Tredwell (four for 48) ensured that Windies fell just short of England’s total of 243.

Both teams dominated certain passages of play and just when it looked like a side would press on, it lost ground to hand the advantage right back.

England, electing to bat, raced to 50 for one in 9.2 overs and 100 for two in 17.2, but soon found itself at 151 for six, before bumbling to 243.

Assault

Chris Gayle (43, 21b, 8×4, 1×6) and Darren Sammy (41, 29b, 2×4, 3×6) at one down, launched a mind-bending assault only for England to claw back through the unlikeliest of sources.

James Tredwell and Ravi Bopara picked up five wickets between the two of them to drag the Windies back to 118 for five.

When Kieron Pollard departed at 150 for six in the twenty eight over, leg before to Swann, West Indies’ manic hitting at the top of the order had effectively eliminated the run-rate element from the chase.

Question of survival?

From there it was a question of sheer survival for West Indies, but Russell, in at no. 8, refused to abandon the cavalier ways of his predecessors.

Ramnaresh Sarwan was happy to turn the strike over as Russell blazed his way to 49 off 46 balls with two fours and three sixes, and the match looked like it would end with overs to spare.

In the absence of strike options, Andrew Strauss could do little to prise out either batsman, and when a close call for a catch on the boundary ropes off Russell’s bat (replays were inconclusive and Jonathan Trott was adjudged to have made contact with the ropes while taking the catch) went against his side, it seemed curtains for England.

Final gamble

With 22 runs required, and Tredwell and Swann having already bowled nine overs apiece, Strauss went for his final gamble.

In his tenth over, Tredwell trapped Russell in front and had a close call for Suleiman Benn turned down (it was reviewed unsuccessfully) the next ball.

With the game in the balance again, Swann bowled out from the same end but not before picking up two more wickets, including that of Sarwan to shut the Windies out.

Good platform

Earlier, England’s innings unfolded in a similarly frenetic manner. Strauss (31, 39b, 3×4, 1×6) and Trott (47, 38b, 7×4) laid the platform for a healthy score that ultimately never materialised.

Davendra Bishoo, making his debut, ended with three wickets, while Russell and Kemar Roach also struck crucial blows as the wheels came off the English innings.

Luke Wright (44, 57b, 5×4) held the lower order together to take England to a par score, which proved just about enough.

Scoreboard

England: A. Strauss c Gayle b Russell 31 (39b, 3×4, 1×6), M. Prior b Russel 21 (21b, 3×4), J. Trott c Gayle b Bishoo 47 (38b, 7×4), I. Bell b Roach 27 (48b, 1×4), E. Morgan c Thomas b Bishoo 7 (13b), R. Bopara b Russel 4 (16b), L. Wright c Russel b Bishoo 44 (57b, 5×4), J. Tredwell (run out) 9 (20b), T. Bresnan (not out) 20 (27b, 2×4), G. Swann b Russell 8 (8b, 1×4), C. Tremlett c Thomas b Roach 3 (7b); Extras (b-1, lb-4, w-15, nb-2): 22; Total (in 48.4 overs): 243.

Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-79, 3-121, 4-134, 5-134, 6-151, 7-192, 8-216, 9-238.

West Indies bowling: Roach 9.4-2-34-2, Benn 10-0-56-0, Russel 8-0-49-4, Sammy 3-0-28-0, Bishoo 10-0-34-3, Pollard 8-0-37-0.

West Indies: D. Smith st. Prior b Tredwell 10 (27b), C. Gayle lbw b Tredwell 43 (21b, 8×4, 1×6), D. Sammy b Bopara 41 (29b, 2×4, 3×6), D. Bravo c Strauss b Tredwell 5 (15b, 1×4), D. Thomas b Bopara 9 (20b, 1×4), R. Sarwan c Bell b Swann 31 (68b, 3×4), K. Pollard lbw b Swann 24 (27b, 1×4, 2×6), A. Russell lbw b Tredwell 49 (46b, 2×4, 3×6), S. Benn (run out) 2 (12b), K. Roach c Tremlett b Swann 0 (2b), D. Bishoo (not out) 0 (1b); Extras (lb-8, w-3): 11; Total (in 44.4 overs): 225.

Fall of wickets: 1-58, 2-67, 3-91, 4-113, 5-118, 6-150, 7-222, 8-223, 9-223.

England bowling: Bresnan 7-1-46-0, Swann 10-1-36-3, Tremlett 5-0-47-0, Tredwell 10-2-48-4, Bopara 8.4-2-22-2, Wright 4-0-18-0.

Man of the Match: James Tredwell.

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Pollard and Smith power Windies to victory

News4u - Sports Desk : West Indies opener Devon Smith made a maiden century but his anonymous effort was overshadowed by Kieron Pollard’s blitz as he bludgeoned a limited Ireland attack in Mohali to muscle West Indies to a tall total and quell the criticism over his lack of performances at the international level. It was West Indies’ third win in four matches and put them in prime position for a quarter-final spot.

A fluent Ed Joyce steered Ireland’s sprightly chase but they lacked the spark needed to chase down the substantial score, though for the fourth match in a row they showed they aren’t out of place at the top table. They kept fighting even when hopes of a victory were lost, reducing the margin of defeat to 44 runs and ensuring that their net run-rate didn’t take too big a hit.

The decision to replace the injured Chris Gayle with bowling allrounder Andre Russell meant West Indies had a long tail, and no batsman of note below No. 5. That meant Ireland would have been the happier side when West Indies crawled to 142 for 3 by the 35th over. The batsmen gambled by taking the batting Powerplay then; a wicket at that stage could have scuppered the innings, but Ireland couldn’t make the vital breakthrough and were helpless as the power of Pollard helped ransack 55 runs in five overs to shift the balance of the game.

Ireland had two gilt-edged chances to remove Pollard in the Powerplay: John Mooney narrowly missed a direct hit from square leg when Pollard had given up hope of making his ground in the 37th over, and Gary Wilson shelled a catch at long-on after hurtling across to get to a skier in the next over.

Over the next 45 minutes Pollard made them regret those misses with his now familiar brand of hitting, mainly muscling boundaries in the arc between long-on and midwicket. Boyd Rankin, Ireland’s quickest, was brought in to handcuff Pollard, but his short ball was walloped to midwicket and an attempted yorker was pummeled down the ground. Rankin was rattled by the ferocity of the second hit, muttering to himself as his fractional mistake was punished.

A drive to midwicket in the 42nd over brought up Pollard’s half-century in 35 balls - celebrated by kissing an arm band bearing the injured allrounder Dwayne Bravo’s number - but he was just warming up. The wickets tumbled at the other end, but there was no stopping Pollard, who capped a frenzy of hitting with a 20 runs of an O’Brien over, which included a monstrous one-handed six that easily sailed over deep midwicket.

O’Brien had taken four wickets for the first time in his one-day career, but the Pollard assault ruined his figures. Pollard was also in line for the second quickest World Cup hundred -after O’Brien’s epic against England last month - but fell attempting a six over long-off.

The pyrotechnics at the end made up for a dull start to the match in front of a nearly empty stadium when the West Indies openers played the dibbly-dobbly Ireland bowling with undue caution. There were only six fours in the first 15 overs on a track that, despite plenty of grass, afforded little movement for the seamers.

West Indies were dawdling at three-and-a-half an over when O’Brien struck in the 25th over: getting Chanderpaul first, and Darren Bravo for a duck three balls later. Smith persevered and he stepped up his strike-rate in the Powerplay with an array of fours, reaching his hundred in 39th over before O’Brien struck twice in an over for the second time, though that didn’t stop the runs. Puzzlingly, Ireland used their best bowler, left-arm spinner George Dockrell, for only three overs.

Ireland’s chase got off to a terrible start as Paul Stirling’s horror World Cup continued, dismissed in the second over. Joyce walked in and caressed his first two deliveries for four and Ireland sprinted to 35/0 in five, before Darren Sammy reeled off three maidens in a row to create the pressure that led to William Porterfield’s dismissal.

Joyce and Niall O’Brien steadied Ireland, adding 44 trouble-free runs before Niall O’Brien played down the wrong line to Sulieman Benn. Joyce and Wilson then forged the biggest partnership of the innings to keep Ireland afloat, but just as Wilson picked up the pace with a huge six and two reverse-swept fours, Joyce was dismissed. Kevin O’Brien fell to a spectacular diving catch from Pollard and with that Ireland’s hopes were washed away.

There was a controversial UDRS decision that ended Wilson’s stay in the 42nd over, but by then Ireland were hurtling towards their third defeat, and now need two wins to qualify for the next stage.

 

West Indies 275 (Smith 107, Pollard 94, O’Brien 4-71) beat Ireland 231 (Joyce 84, Wilson 61, Sammy 3-31, Benn 4-53) by 44 runs CRICINFO

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