HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – Rovman Powell struck a scintillating, less than run-a-ball, maiden one-day hundred as West Indies easily disposed of nemeses Ireland by 52 runs, to book their place in the Super Sixes of the ICC World Cup qualifiers here yesterday.
Asked to bat first at Harare Sports Club, the Windies wobbled briefly before raising 257 for eight off their 50 overs, with the big-hitting Powell lashing 101 off 100 balls.
Captain Jason Holder extended his form with 54 while rookie left-hander Shimron Hetmyer got 36.
Seamers Kemar Roach (4-27) and Kesrick Williams (4-43) then picked up four wickets apiece as Ireland collapsed from a promising 166 for four in the 37th over, to be dismissed for 205 in the 47th.
Veteran Ed Joyce top-scored with 63 while Kevin O’Brien scored 38 and brother Niall O’Brien, 34.
The victory for the heavy favourites was their third on the trot and put them in the second stage of the competition along with Scotland and hosts Zimbabwe, with a game against the Netherlands remaining on Monday.
Despite wary of the threat posed by the previously unbeaten Irish, the Windies found themselves slumping at 83 for five in the 19th over and in danger of collapse.
Evin Lewis sliced a drive at pacer Boyd Rankin to point to depart for nine at 18 for one in the fifth over and his veteran opening partner Chris Gayle perished in the 10th over for 14, snicking a forward defensive prod at seamer Tim Murtagh (4-41) to be caught at the wicket with the score on 33.
Marlon Samuels succumbed to a beauty from Murtagh and was also taken behind by gloveman Niall O’Brien for two and Shai Hope followed in the 15th over, caught down the leg-side off off-spinner Andy McBrine (2-45) for seven trying to turn an innocuous delivery.
Hetmyer, who faced 40 balls and struck three fours and a six – an exquisitely timed lofted straight drive off Rankin – added 25 for the fifth wicket with Holder but failed in an attempt to clear long off in the 19th over and handed McBrine his second wicket.
Powell then orchestrated two key half-century stands to pull West Indies around, posting 86 for the sixth wicket with Holder and a further 60 for the eighth wicket with Ashley Nurse (10 not out).
The right-handed Jamaican, in his 19th ODI, struck seven fours and sixes while Holder belted three fours and a six off 71 balls.
Powell was measured over his first fifty, requiring 77 deliveries for the landmark but upped the tempo to lash his second fifty off a mere 21 balls – triple figures coming when he cleared long on with a Kevin O’Brien full toss in the penultimate over.
He eventually fell to the fourth ball of the final over, holing out to mid-wicket off Murtagh, after helping the Windies plunder 84 runs from the last 10 overs.
Roach and Holder (2-49) then struck telling blows with the new ball to send Ireland tumbling to 32 for three in the 11th over.
Left-handed captain William Porterfield clipped a short ball from Holder to Lewis at square leg in the second over before Roach spectacularly removed Paul Stirling’s off-stump for 18 at 25 for two in the seventh over.
Roach grabbed his second wicket a few overs later when he lured Andrew Balbirnie (9) into a drive and had him caught behind.
The left-handed Joyce, however, anchored two successive half-century stands as Ireland rallied well to haul themselves back into contention.
He put on 64 for the fourth wicket with Niall O’Brien before adding 70 for the fifth with Kevin O’Brien.
Niall pulled a short one from Williams to Lewis at deep square leg to depart in the 25th over and after a long resistance, Joyce was dismissed in the 37th over, turning Roach off his pads to Carlos Brathwaite at short mid-wicket.
He struck seven fours in 87 deliveries at the crease.
Roach hit Kevin O’Brien in front with the last ball of the same over, leaving Ireland floundering on 167 for six.
Gary Wilson (18) and George Dockrell (14) provided the last ray of hope in a 31-run, seventh wicket stand but Dockrell’s demise, lbw to Holder in the 44th over, triggered a slide as the last four wickets fell for just seven runs.