Pollard says: “I am still learning”
Gros Islet, St Lucia — Kieron Pollard kept his promise to his West Indies teammates as he made a magnificent century to lead the home side to a superb 42-run win over Australia in the fourth Digicel One-Day International.
The powerful six-footer struck eight massive sixes, in a boundary-studded 102 off just 70 balls in an unforgettable knock at Beausejour Cricket Ground on Friday. The stunning display of power-hitting from the Windies yielded 117 runs in the last 10 overs. This was then back up with disciplined bowling and good fielding as they took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the five-match rubber.
The final Digicel ODI is on Sunday at the same venue. A victory in that match would give the Windies their first series win over Australia since 1995.
It was Pollard’s second ODI century in just five innings, following on from his maiden international century against India in Chennai last December, and earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. His demolition of the Aussie attack led the Windies to 294-7 off 50 overs after being sent in to bat. They then dismissed the visitors for 252 off 46.3 overs.
“Today I told everyone I would look to bat through (to the end of innings) and look to put the team in a winning position. I didn’t happen in the game before when we ended with a tie, but it happened today. We played well and we deserve this victory,” said Pollard, who was watched by his son Kaiden.
“I have been around for a little while now but I would say I’m still learning. Getting my second hundred for West Indies and my first in the Caribbean is a delight for me and for the team. It is a stepping stone for me. Each game, each performance, is a learning experience and this is one that I will take forward with me -- batting for the team and being there until the end,” added the 24-year-old.
“Gett ing 294 today was a huge plus. We had them (Australia) in a position where they had to be going at over five runs per over, close to six, and that was always going to be difficult. We kept getting wickets at the right time and that kept them under pressure.”
Pollard came to the crease with the Windies at 106-4 in the 26th overs. He added 94 in 11 overs with Andre Russell, who made 34 off 32 balls. After Russell left, Pollard added 38 in three overs with skipper Darren Sammy, who gave the innings a final flourish with 31 not out off 13 balls. Earlier in the innings, Adrian Barath made 41 off 31 balls on his return to international cricket.
“The Australians have come pretty hard at us, but one good thing is that we have not backed down. Every time they come at us we hit right back at them. The fans and the public are behind us, backing us, and when we show that we are not going to back down, no matter what, it shows that we have a strength in the team, a belief in ourselves and what we can do.”
Looking ahead to Sunday, Pollard said: “We will try to win the series 3-1. We are already up 2-1 and we cannot lose the series but we want to finish with a win. We have worked really hard to get here and we want to go all the way. The job is not yet done.
“A series win against a higher ranked team like Australia would be great, not only for the players, but also for the fans who come out and support us. Hopefully on Sunday, we can go out there and do the job for each and every one of them. Their support means a lot to us,” said Pollard.
Match schedule for Digicel ODI Series
Friday, 16 March: 1st Digicel ODI – Australia won by 64 runs – Arnos Vale Cricket Ground
Sunday, 18 March: 2nd Digicel ODI – West Indies won by five wickets – Arnos Vale Cricket Ground
Tuesday, 20 March: 3rd Digicel ODI – Tied – Arnos Vale Cricket Ground
Friday, 23 March: 4th Digicel ODI – West Indies won by 42 runs – Beausejour Cricket Ground
Sunday, 25 March: 5th Digicel ODI at Beausejour Cricket Ground, St. Lucia