Smith steps up when it matters

Mohali, India – West Indies opener Devon Smith spoke about the joy he felt after making his maiden One-Day International century in the Windies victory over Ireland on Friday.

The confident left-hander made a determined 107 to surpass his previous career-best of 91 off 76 balls, made against South Africa in Johannesburg three years ago.

The breakthrough innings helped the Windies to 275 off 50 overs and they then bowled out the Irish to win by 44 runs at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. The results move the Windies to six points from four matches and second place in Group B at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

“Doing so well and helping the team to a victory today has given me great confidence. I started slowly but I knew that if I battled out to the end of the innings I would be able to cash in and get a good score at the end. It’s all about the team and I batted for the team,” Smith said.

On Friday Smith opened the innings with veteran Shiv Chanderpaul after Chris Gayle was forced to miss the match with a slight abdominal strain. The new opening combination added 89 in 24 overs to provide a solid foundation. Overall, Smith faced 133 balls and hit 11 boundaries and a six over midwicket. The knock took Smith to 202 runs in the tournament at an average of 50.5 per innings. He is now the leading batsman for the Windies and the ninth highest overall.

“With Chris out of today’s match I realised from very early that I had to step up and be counted in a big way. I was asked to take on the responsibility and I am happy I did it. It feels really good that I could get my first ODI century in a winning cause and help us get closer to next stage of the World Cup.”

Smith added: “I’m feeling very happy at the moment and I’m happy for the fantastic support of my team-mates and all those people who supported me and believed in me over the years. Winning a match for the West Indies feels great! I am now more confident and I’m looking ahead to the next game against England in Chennai. That is the next step and that is all we are concentrating on at the moment. We will be look to move from strength to strength.”

West Indies travel to Chennai on Saturday where they will face England on Thursday at the M.A. Chidambaram Cricket Ground.

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