Windies ahead of SA on net run rate
Aware that any slip-up could pose a serious threat to their quarter-final chances, a resurgent West Indies will take on giant-killers Ireland in an interesting group B match of the World Cup in Mohali on Friday.
With two vctories in three matches, the West Indies are standing on the brink of quarter-finals and a win against Ireland at the PCA Stadium tomorrow will more or less secure their place in the last-eight stage.
With four points in their kitty, the West Indies are in the third place in Group B behind India and England but ahead of South Africa on net run rate. The top four sides from each group qualify for the quarter-finals.
After the thrashing at the hands of South Africa in their tournament-opener, the Caribbean side made a strong comeback and demolished the Netherlands and co-hosts Bangladesh in their next two outings.
Image: West Indies player celebrate after picking up a wicket
Photographs: Getty Images
'We know what they are capable of'
But the West Indians are aware of the challenges posed by the Irishmen and would do well not to take the game lightly as tough matches against India, Australia and England await them in the tournament after Friday's counter.
"We have played against them quite a lot and know what they are capable of. But we can't take any side for granted in this tournament especially after the way Ireland played against England," senior West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan said ahead of the match.
"Every game is a must win game for us in this tournament. We will just go out there play and enjoy," he added.
Image: Nail and Kevin O'Brien
The West Indies have a strong batting line-up and will be looking to explosive Chris Gayle for a solid start.
Young Darren Bravo showed great potential at the number three position while the middle-order has loads of experience in Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivanarine Chanderpaul.
Also, in Keiron Pollard down the order, the West Indies have a batsman who can tear apart any bowling side on his day.
However, the West Indies, who have a legacy of producing great fast bowlers, have some concerns on the bowling front. Apart from Kemar Roach, they don't have a quality pacer in their attack.
And captain Darren Sammy would be hoping that Roach, who took 3-19 against Bangladesh and 6-27 against the Netherlands, including a hat-trick, will carry on his good work in the coming matches.
Image: Darren Bravo
Ireland look to upset WI
Ireland notched up the first upset of the tournament when they beat England by three wickets, toppling a score of 327 riding on Kevin O'Brien's brilliance.
The win over England also saw Ireland leapfrog Zimbabwe in the ODI rankings, moving into 10th position.
Even though they lost to India by five wickets, Ireland gave a tough fight to the co-hosts and bowled and fielded superbly while defending a modest total of 207.
Ireland are presently fifth in Group B and if they create another upset they will strengthen their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Irish skipper William Porterfield also believes that his side can make it to the quarter-finals and understands the significance of the game.
Image: Ireland players celebrate after winning their match
We have got our plans against WI
"We've got three games left and there is no reason why we can't beat any of the three sides. So far we have played some decent cricket and the match against West Indies is a big game for us," Porterfield said.
However, Porterfield is aware of the challenges that await them tomorrow.
"They (West Indies) are a strong team. They have got match-winners in their team but we have got our plans," he said.
The one area in which Ireland will hold an edge over the West Indies is fielding. Also the Irish players' experience of playing in competitive county cricket in England has done a world of good for the side in the tournament.
Image: Kevin O'Brien