Mohali: 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 cricket World Cup on Friday at PCA Stadium, Mohali.
With two victories in three matches, the West Indies are standing on the brink of quarter-finals and a win against Ireland 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.
The West Indies have a strong batting line-up and will be looking to explosive Chris Gayle for a solid start.
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.
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 tomorrow`s game.
“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 Friday.
“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.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Nikita Miller, Kieron Pollard, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith, Devon Thomas (wk), Devendra Bishoo, Kirk Edwards.
Ireland: William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, Ed Joyce, John Mooney, Kevin O`Brien, Niall O`Brien (wk), Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson.