Mohali: Mar 12, 2011
Hard-hitting batsman Kieron Pollard hoped he had shed his Twenty20 tag after taking the West Indies to a 44-run victory over Ireland in the World Cup. Pollard was named the man of the match for his 94 off 55 balls that boosted the West Indies' total to a competitive 275 in the crucial Group B match.
He also took a stunning catch to dismiss dangerman Kevin O'Brien for five as the Caribbean side bowled out the Irish for 231 off 49 overs.
"What's been said about me being a 20-over specialist, that's just history for me now. I had an opportunity to prove myself and there cannot be a bigger stage than the World Cup to do that. My innings showed what I can do. I will use this as a positive, Pollard, 23, said.
"It was definitely one of my better innings. It's for people who have supported me. I will take it from here and try to sustain the momentum."
His career-best knock against the Irish contained eight fours and five sixes and provided the impetus to the West Indies innings which was lumbering on sedately until his onslaught.
"We had a bit of a slow start," said Pollard. "I backed myself to play a big knock and took some chances. With Dwayne (Bravo) out of the picture, I actually got an opportunity to do something for the team. Dwayne is such an influential player, he is a great team-mate and we all look up to him."
Bravo was forced to fly back home after picked up a knee injury during the first game against South Africa in New Delhi.
Pollard has enjoyed considerable success in Twenty20 cricket but has managed just 700 runs from 36 one-day internationals at an average of 21.87.
His selection in the World Cup team attracted criticism from some former players who questioned his temperament and wondered if he could come good in the 50-over game.
Pollard said he was thrilled to take the catch that accounted for O'Brien, who had hit World Cup's fastest hundred to fashion his team's upset win against England. "We had seen what he did against England," he said. "I was strategically placed in that position, it was really good to take the catch."
Ireland captain William Porterfield said his team had little answer to Pollard's run blitz. "We make plans for each player but Pollard is special," said Porterfield.
"When he is on fire you cannot do anything about it. I don't blame my bowlers at all. They bowled well to keep the runs down in the initial stages but Pollard played intelligent cricket."
The win moved the West Indies onto six points from four games and on course for the quarter-finals.
But they still have two tough group games left - against England and India.