Smith, Pollard set up Windies victory over Ireland

Mohali: Devon Smith scored his maiden ODI century while Kieron Pollard smashed a whirlwind 94 as West Indies thumped Ireland by 44 runs in a World Cup Group B match to brighten their chances of a quarter-final berth here on Friday.

Opener Smith anchored the innings with a 133-ball 107 run knock during which he struck 11 boundaries and a six, but it was Pollard`s power hitting which stole the limelight and guided West Indies to 275 all out after being sent into bat.

West Indies then shot out Ireland for 231 in 49 overs with lanky left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn taking 4/53 and paceman and captain Darren Sammy chipping in with 3 for 31 at the PCA Stadium.

Ed Joyce (84) and Gary Wilson (61) kept Ireland in the reckoning with a 94-ball 91-run fourth-wicket partnership. But Joyce`s dismissal in the 37th over changed the equation of the match as Ireland lost their last seven wickets for just 54 runs.

With this win, West Indies have gathered six points from four matches. They will face England and India in their remaining group encounters.

Ireland, who had upset England earlier, though gave the West Indies a run for their money today but their quarterfinal hopes are almost over as they have just two points from four games. They take on the Netherlands and mighty South Africa in their remaining matches.

The start of Ireland`s run chase was far from impressive as they lost both their openers — Paul Stirling and captain William Porterfield — inside the first 50 runs.

Paul Stirling hardly made any impact as he fell to Benn in the second over. But Joyce looked in supreme touch and opened his account with back-to-back boundaries of the off-spinner.

Sammy then accounted for his Irish counterpart Porterfield (12), caught by substitute Ravi Rampaul with the Ireland scoreboard reading 42 for two.

Joyce and Niall O`Brien (25) then stitched on a 44-run third wicket partnership before Benn went through the defence of the former.

After Niall`s dismissal, Gary Wilson joined Joyce at the crease and the duo kept Ireland in the hunt with a 91-run fourth wicket stand that came of just 94 balls.

Joyce notched up his half century in 67 balls and it took a gem of a yorker from Andrew Russel to get rid of the set batsman, who was once dropped by Nikita Millier of his own bowling on 65.

Ireland`s hero against England, Kevin O`Brien could not contribute much for his team today as his stay at the crease was cut short by a brilliant Pollard who took a blinder of a catch at mid-off off Sammy`s bowling with the Irish still needing 89 runs to win of 63 balls.