The Sunday Mail
Rovman Powell struck a stunning maiden ODI century under pressure and Jason Holder spearheaded his second consecutive recovery effort to help the Windies to a third straight win that confirms their place in the Super Sixes.
The duo guided Windies to 257-8 in 50 overs after they had been 83-5 in their Group A match, before four wickets apiece for Kemar Roach (4-27 from 10) and Kesrick Williams (4-43 from 8.2) handed Holder’s team a 52-run victory. The Irish reply got off to a bad start with each of the top three (William Porterfield 0; Paul Stirling 18; Andy Balbirnie 9) out early to leave them 32-3 from 11 overs. Ed Joyce (63), Niall O’Brien (34), Kevin O’Brien (38) and Gary Wilson (18) each made contributions but none kicked on and with the run-rate creeping up, they collapsed from 166/5 to 205 all out as Windies’ lower-order rally continued to pay dividends.
And what a rally it had been. Holder and Powell added 86 for the sixth wicket after Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin and Andy McBrine had reduced Windies to 83/5, and 24-year-old Powell eventually kicked on to a fantastic 100-ball 101 from No.7 – his maiden ODI century. Powell, who took his time to kick on, hit out at the death, striking seven sixes and as many fours in a memorable knock to lift his team out of trouble.
Ireland had won a good toss and put Windies in. Their decision to open the bowling with a combination of McBrine’s spin and Murtagh’s pace kept the explosive first-wicket pair of Chris Gayle (14) and Evin Lewis (9) quiet.
Rankin got a breakthrough in his first over, getting Lewis to hit to McBrine to point.
Murtagh, who had been taken for a straight six by Gayle, was rewarded for keeping up the pressure, with the left-hander nicking behind for a sedate 28-ball 14.
Neither Marlon Samuels nor Shai Hope stuck around to get beyond single-digit scores, with Samuels nicking another Murtagh delivery, while Shimron Hetmyer threw away a promising start.
With half of the Windies line-up back in the hutch inside 20 overs, Holder, who had rescued his side from a similar situation two days before against PNG, had the responsibility to rebuild again.
ICC WORLD CUP QUALIFIER RESULTS
Afghanistan: 195 for 4 (Najibullah 52*, Rahmat 46, Airee 2-25) beat Nepal194 (Khadka 75, Airee 32, Nabi 4-33, Rashid 3-45) by six wickets
Netherlands: 216 for 8 (Zulfiqar 53*, Dai 2-29, Amini 2-36) beat PNG 159 (Vala 44, van der Merwe 4-46) by 57 runs — ICC