Tue, Feb 17, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Ireland loss leaves Windies stumped

LACKING MOTIVATION:Following the shock defeat in their opening World Cup encounter, the West Indies are now in danger of not qualifying for the knockout stage

Reuters, MELBOURNE, Australia

Ireland’s William Porterfield, center, plays a shot during their World Cup match against the West Indies at the Saxton Oval in Nelson, New Zealand, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Alarm bells have long been ringing in the Caribbean over the West Indies’ chaotic buildup to the Cricket World Cup and those fears were realized yesterday when they slumped to a four-wicket loss against Ireland in Nelson, New Zealand.

Coming off a thrashing by England and an embarrassing scare against Scotland in the warmups, the wheels well and truly fell off at Saxton Oval as Ireland’s batsmen reeled in their first innings total of 304-7 with over four overs to spare.

Few expected the West Indies to seriously challenge for the title, but their opening loss could leave the twice world champions in danger of not making it through to the quarter-finals from Pool B.

Associate teams have made a habit of upsetting Test-playing nations at the World Cup, with West Indies’ loss to Kenya in 1996 a case in point.

However, the Ireland defeat has reinforced perceptions of a team on the verge of collapse and lacking the motivation to do anything about it.

The West Indies had already been in disarray well before the tournament, with a crippling contracts dispute between players and the board scuttling what would have been a lucrative tour of India.

That dispute cost regular captain Dwayne Bravo, the players’ spokesperson, a place in the World Cup squad along with big-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard.

The captaincy was handed to a rookie in fast bowler Jason Holder, a 23-year-old with about 20 one-day internationals to his name.

Worse was to come with leading spinner Sunil Narine pulling out of the tour, citing a lack of confidence in his bowling action after being cited during a club tournament.

Narine was free to play at the World Cup, having not breached the guidelines at any International Cricket Council tournament.

Holder has struggled to convince he is leading a united team at the global showpiece and was nowhere to be found at the post-match news conference.

Instead it was teammate Darren Sammy facing the inquisition.

Sammy began by apologizing for cursing himself with a crude word that was picked up by the stumps microphone during his innings of 89.

“Yeah, today we took them for granted as we fielded,” he told reporters.

“Our bowlers have been going for some sticks over the last few games and today was no different against an experienced Irish team where you know they had a game plan and they stuck to it,” he added.

Though Sammy and Lendl Simmons (102) combined for a 154-run sixth-wicket partnership to rescue the West Indies’ innings after it had slumped to 87-5 in the 24th over, the bloodless display in the field would have been galling for home fans.

After seamer Jerome Taylor captured the fourth wicket of Andy Balbirnie with Ireland still needing 20 runs for victory, none of his teammates celebrated the dismissal.

“When things are not going your way, it’s always difficult to motivate yourself,” Sammy said. “I will always try to be positive in my approach, help our young captain Jason and hopefully the rest of the team could follow.”

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