Ireland Vs West Indies
Starting time: 9:30 IST
Mohali, March 10: Ireland will be itching to cause another upset in the World Cup 2011, especially after flexing it minnow muscles against England and making India sweat for a victory at Bangalore. The West Indies however, have proved that they are a formidable unit, given the manner in which they thumped the Netherlands and especially Bangladesh in a matches which turned out to be one-sided duds.
The Windies will take on the Irish secure in the fact that they have beaten this opposition in their only two previous encounters. However, the last victory, which came in April 2010, was fairly hard-fought. Ireland made 219 in their 50 overs with Kevin O'Brien top-scoring with a robust 54 off 52 balls. But the Windies Suleiman Benn troubled the rest of the line-up, taking 2/29 and in the end, Ramnaresh Sarwan took his side home courtesy an unbeaten 100.
The Windies bowling is looking especially strong in this tournament with fast bowler Kemar Raoach having taken 10 wickets from 3 matches at a staggering average of 8.80 and Benn close behind with 8 scalps at 12.12 runs conceded per wicket. In comparison, the Irish bowlers have been effective but not as successful, with Trent Johnston the spearhead of his side with 6 wickets from 3 matches at 18.66 and John Mooney with 5 scalps at 21.20.
The Windies batting too looks in good shape. Chris Gayle tops the run-getting charts for his side with an average of 59.50 in the tournament so far. He is followed by Darren Bravo who bears 56.00 to his credit.
The Irish have not been equally consistent, with Kevin O'Brien the only batsman from his side with an average of over fifty - 53.00, and a high of 113 (from 63 balls) against England. His brother Niall is the next in line, averaging 37.66 from his three innings thus far.
So, can Ireland pull off its maiden win against the Windies in Friday's match? A better standing in Group B will be their reward and a clear shot at making the quarter-finals too. They will certainly buckle down to the task as their self-belief rises above their inexperience.