Cricket: West Indies hold off Irish

Kieron Pollard  takes a diving catch in the outfield to dismiss Kevin O'Brien of Ireland. Photo / Getty Images
Kieron Pollard takes a diving catch in the outfield to dismiss Kevin O'Brien of Ireland. Photo / Getty Images

Big-hitting Kieron Pollard nudged West Indies closer to the World Cup quarter-finals on Friday as Bangladesh were locked in a knife-edge struggle for survival against England.

Pollard hammered 94 off just 55 balls and shared an 88-run stand with Devon Smith (107), who hit a maiden one-day century, as West Indies posted 275 before bowling out the Irish for 231 for a 44-run win in Mohali.

Pollard also took a memorable catch to send back Irish dangerman Kevin O'Brien for five off seamer Darren Sammy, who returned impressive figures of 3-31 off his 10 overs.

Ed Joyce, who played for England in the 2007 World Cup, made a 106-ball 84, containing nine fours and put on 109 for the fourth wicket with Gary Wilson (61).

The win took West Indies to six points from four Group B outings while Ireland, with one win from four matches, now must beat South Africa and the Netherlands to have any hope of progressing.

"We batted, bowled and fielded pretty well, but Pollard struck the ball pretty clean. It was a good innings and it got them some good momentum," said Ireland captain William Porterfield.

Pollard said he was happy to keep proving his critics wrong.

"This innings is for the people who have supported me. What's been said about me (as a Twenty20 specialist), that's just history for me. I go out there and do my best."

In Chittagong, Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan defied Bangladesh's rampaging spinners with half-centuries as England were bowled out for 225.

Trott hit 67 and left-hander Morgan, who arrived in Chittagong on Tuesday to replace the injured Kevin Pietersen, hit a fluent 63 off 72 balls.

The duo put on 109 for the fourth wicket after England, sent in to bat on a sluggish pitch at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium, slipped to 53-3 in the 17th over.

Spinners Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak and skipper Shakib Al Hasan all claimed two wickets each.

Bangladesh have to win the game to maintain a realistic chance of making the last eight after garnering just one win from three games.

A victory for England, who have five points from four previous games, will take them and India into the last eight.

England picked Matt Prior to open the batting with skipper Andrew Strauss in place of Pietersen, who has returned home to undergo a hernia operation.

The wicket-keeper made 15 when he was dismissed in bizarre fashion, stumped by his Bangladesh counterpart Mushfiqur Rahim off Razzak's first delivery.

Rahim removed the bails off a wide ball down the leg-side, but even though Prior had dragged his back foot in just in time, he again wandered out of his crease.

Seeing the batsman out of his ground, a quick-thinking Rahim pulled out a stump to ensure the decision, which was referred to the TV umpire, went in his favour.

- AFP

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