ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Ireland v West Indies, World Cup 2011, Mohali
Ireland slip at crucial moments
Nagraj Gollapudi in Mohali
March 11, 2011
The Ireland story: they held kept their grip on the game both while fielding to begin with and later while chasing the target, before control slipped away at the most crucial moments. In the morning, for 35 overs, Ireland had put West Indies under house arrest till the pirate from Trinidad - Kieron Pollard - walked in, imposed himself and forced a jailbreak.
Then, even with half their batsmen back in the dressing room with nine overs and 79 runs to go and a batting Powerplay in hand, Gary Wilson raised hopes of a victory having compiled an impressive fifty. Suddenly, he was ruled out in dubious fashion. Ireland got distracted and the Shamrock was crushed.
It was a case of so near yet so far. Even the absence of Trent Johnson, who failed to recover from a knee injury, had not deterred the Irish. Boyd Rankin had a new companion with which to share the new ball in Alex Cusack. With an agile field providing ample support both men bowled a tight line and a perfect length.
Surprisingly the West Indies opening pair of Devon Smith and Shivnaraine Chanderpaul seemed like they were carrying putters instead of bats in hand as they carefully avoided playing any big strokes. Their circumspection only helped Ireland who cashed in. After 15 overs West Indies had not lost a wicket but a score of just 50 seemed a tad too slow.
Surprisingly the greenish tinge on the pitch had predicted a lot of seam movement and some early wickets for the fast bowlers. The perceived dawn raid by the fast men never came. Far from being dejected, the Ireland bowlers kept on leveraging the advantage. After 24 overs West Indies were on a far from promising 89. Next over Kevin O'Brien picked up two wickets. By the time the ball was replaced Ireland seemed in a dominant position at 138 for 3.
To get out of the hole they had dug themselves in, the pair of Smith and Kieron Pollard opted for the batting Powerplay immediately. And that is where Ireland faltered for the first time. George Dockrell, the left-arm spinner, had been introduced past the 30-over mark, but he had already stamped his authority by dismissing Ramnaresh Sarwan in his second over. In the following over he kept Pollard under check, giving only five runs.
But for some unknown and unexplained reason he was removed. Thereafter Pollard established himself and snatched the game away from Ireland - 57 runs came in those five overs when the field was in. West Indies smacked 133 runs off the final 15 overs. Dockrell remained busy on the ropes, fetching the ball instead of delivering it.
"I have no complaints for the boys. They bowled pretty well. Coming out in the first 15 overs I know we did not pick up any wickets but they were going at less than three [an over]. That was a great effort. We picked up momentum there. We picked wickets at crucial times. But Kieron Pollard came in and played a great knock and it is hard to defend when he plays like that. We knew what power they had in the middle order and just had to try and contain them. You also have to give credit to Devon Smith the way he played. He did not find it easy to start with but he caught up coming forward in the middle overs," William Porterfield, the Ireland captain said.
He reckoned Ireland were still in the contest while they discussed the gameplan for the chase. "When we came out at half-time we it was a par score and very, very chaseable," he said. At the halfway stage Ed Joyce and Wilson had just started their union. Joyce, who had a sum of 52 runs in the previous three matches, had got off to the most fluent starts with two graceful cover drives as soon as he walked in. He continued to regale the senses with his wristy drives. Wilson was an able partner and both men steadily built a platform. Their settled minds caused distress for Darren Sammy, who was busy changing fields and swapping bowlers.
Even when Joyce left, bowled round the legs by Andre Russell, Wilson had immediately moved into a commanding position to take control. But just like he had taken the pressure off Joyce, he needed a man to stand by him. Kevin O'Brien disappointed and went for the big shots straightway and vanished quickly. Ireland could not bring the spirit of their Bangalore evenings to Mohali. Luck deserted the Irish today as Wilson perished to a questionable umpiring decision.
"We got ourselves into a pretty good position going into the last ten overs. The wicket changed a lot more than we maybe expected. It kept low and got slightly harder. We lost a few wickets at pretty crucial times. Niall and Ed partnership started the rebuilding and then Gary came and along with Ed they were going going pretty strongly till we lost a couple of wickets in the 40th over which delayed the batting Powerplay slightly which kind of set us back," was Porterfield's analysis.