Points at stake as hosts Windies face Irish

Published: Friday, March 23, 2007, 7:57 [IST]
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Kingston (Jamaica):World Cup hosts West Indies face surprise package Ireland in the final game of Group D on Friday and there is still plenty to play for even though both teams have qualified for the Super Eights.

The winners of the game will take two points with them into the next stage of the competition, with points gained against eliminated sides Pakistan and Zimbabwe not carried forward.

"We are considering this a Super Eights match," said West Indies' Australian coach Bennett King whose team have repeatedly stressed they are not under-rating the Irish.

Ireland have lit up the World Cup with two thrilling games. They tied with Zimbabwe in their first ever game in the competition and then they pulled off the biggest shock of the tournament by defeating one of the pre-competition favourites Pakistan.

They are the only non-Test playing nation to have made it through the group stage so far but now hope they can produce another upset.

"I couldn't have asked more of the 14 guys and staff. It has been such a professional application. The dedication everyone has put in for the last three months has been phenomenal and I can't thank them enough," said Ireland's Australian-born captain Trent Johnston.

"We've a huge day on Friday, a match against West Indies, a massive game when I hope we can be competitive and bring forward the points."

Johnston, whose inspirational leadership, tight seam bowling and useful lower order batting has been instrumental to the Irish success so far, is a fitness worry for the Irish though.

A shoulder injury kept Johnston out of training on Tuesday and Wednesday but he is hoping to recover in time for the match.

West Indies media manager Imran Khan said captain Brian Lara had a fully fit squad of 15 players available to him but the selection committee have yet to make a decision on the line-up.

The hosts have fielded the same eleven in both their games so far and unless a decision is taken to give left-arm seamer Ian Bradshaw a work-out before the group stage, the line-up is likely to remain unchanged.

Ireland have already produced one upset against the Caribbean side -- they won a one-day game in Belfast in June, 2004.

Dwayne Bravo, who has been in good form so far in the World Cup, hit an unbeaten century for West Indies as they made 292 but Ireland knocked off the total with just four wickets down - Australian-born Jeremy Bray making 71. Bray scored a century in the opening game here against Zimbabwe.


West Indies: Brian Lara (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Ian Bradshaw, Corey Collymore, Jerome Taylor, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Devon Smith, Lendl Simmons, Daren Powell and Kieron Pollard.

Ireland: Trent Johnston (capt), Kyle McCallan, Andre Botha, Jeremy Bray, Kenneth Carroll, Peter Gillespie, Dave Langford-Smith, John Mooney, Paul Mooney, Eoin Morgan, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien (wk), William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin and Andrew White.


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