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March 23, 2007
West Indies 190 for 2 (Chanderpaul 102*, Sarwan 36) beat Ireland 183 for 8 (Bray 41, Gayle 2-23, Powell 2-24)
West Indies marched passed Ireland with ease at Kingston, thanks to a slick bowling display and a fine hundred from Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Though both sides were already into the Super Eight stage of the World Cup, West Indies take through a useful two points - not to mention an equally valuable confidence boost.
Ireland didn't have much of a total defend, but Chanderpaul never let them have a sniff. His sixth one-day hundred was calm, yet aggressive; adventurous, but elegant and he was partnered along the way by Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels. He lost his opening partner, Chris Gayle, for just 19 - though not after he had blitzed 18 from 14 balls to get the West Indies off to a brisk start. After launching Dave Langford-Smith for the most fearsome of fours over mid-on, the same bowler got his man the very next ball when Gayle fell victim to his own enthusiasm.
But any hint of West Indies slipping up on the Ireland banana skin were emphatically disregarded by Chanderpaul and Sarwan. In one over off Boyd Rankin, Ireland's lanky fast bowler who has shown great promise thus far, Chanderpaul smacked him for two fours over midwicket and a third down to fine-leg.
The triplet of boundaries got Chanderpaul's feet moving, cutting John Mooney quite delightfully for an easy four backward of point before smashing Andre Botha - completely lacking direction and confidence - over long-on for four, four, six. The wheels were coming off the Ireland attack, not something they could afford while defending such a low total. The fifty was brought up in the tenth over, and Chanderpaul's from 52 balls, as Ireland were pasted around the park.
After Sarwan had fallen, ending a 119-run stand, Chanderpaul received good support Samuels, the pair working the bowling around with ease as the required run-rate slipped below two per over. A gentle drive to long-off brought him his first World Cup hundred, from 108 balls. If West Indies are to go anywhere in this tournament, Chanderpaul's experience and nuggety nous is vital.
It capped an impressive day for West Indies, in all three departments. That they restricted a talented if inconsistent Ireland batting lineup to 183 for 8 demonstrated excellent discipline from their Jekyll and Hyde bowling attack. Jerome Taylor was swift, if a little wayward, but Daren Powell showed excellent control - and it was he who made the first breakthrough, removing William Porterfield who bagged his second duck of the tournament.
The responsibility of Ireland's innings was left to Jeremy Bray, their bossy opener. Unfortunately, whereas he was fluent and ferocious in his 115 against Zimbabwe last week, today's knock was more flaccid. As ever, he was quick to pounce on anything short, but the fuller delivery caused him headaches, wafting injudiciously outside off and looking every inch the back-foot bully.
Eoin Morgan again looked out of sorts, scratching 18 rather unconvincing runs - although his cause wasn't helped by West Indies' fielding, particular from Dwayne Smith, who lurked in the covers and on several occasions prevented a tension-relieving single. In fact, their proficiency in the field was no better demonstrated than by Denesh Ramdin who kept brilliantly all day, snaffling four fine catches.
On came the spinners, Gayle and Samuels, but the pressure was unrelenting and Ireland's middle order rather lacked intent. The last ten overs saw too much nudging, not enough slogging and, as Chanderpaul's hundred demonstrated, they were short on runs.
Sterner tests lie ahead but - like New Zealand's ruthless ridding of Canada yesterday - West Indies have seen off Ireland with an impressive authority.