West Indies put one foot in the World Cup quarter-finals by seeing off the UAE by six wickets on Sunday as Pakistan also edged closer to the last-eight by limiting Ireland to just 237 in their do-or-die clash.
The West Indies lost four wickets chasing their modest target of 176, with Johnson Charles (55) and Jonathan Carter (50 not out) the major contributors as the Test side sealed victory in the 31st over of their innings at Napier’s McLean Park.
But such is their net run-rate, the West Indies will go through to the knockout phase unless Pool B rivals Ireland and Pakistan tie or suffer a no result in their match in Adelaide later Sunday.
“I’m extremely pleased with the way the guys came out and played,” said West Indies captain Jason Holder.
“We needed to win by a certain margin. We had to show positive intent. We knew we had to finish the game inside 36 overs and we did it.”
Earlier, a stubborn century partnership by Amjad Javed (56) and Nasir Aziz (60) guided the United Arab Emirates to 175.
Javed and Aziz put on 107 for the seventh wicket after the UAE were struggling at 46-6.
The West Indies, without injured opener Chris Gayle who failed to shake off a back injury, were indebted to Holder who took four for 27, while Jerome Taylor had figures of three for 63.
But once Holder had used up his 10 overs, Javed and Aziz found the middle overs attack of Kemar Roach much to their liking.
Aziz, in only his third ODI and not required to bat in the first two, looked very accomplished as he smacked eight fours in his 60 off 86 deliveries.
Javed topped his previous best of 42 as he reached his first half-century and with Aziz he posted the equal fourth-highest partnership in the UAE’s ODI history after also putting on 107 with Shaiman Anwar earlier in the World Cup against Ireland.
But once Aziz and Javed were dismissed the innings folded quickly with the last three wickets falling for eight runs.
West Indies are now in line to face tournament co-hosts New Zealand at Wellington in a March 21 quarter-final.
The winners of the Ireland-Pakistan match will be guaranteed a quarter-final spot in a fixture taking place almost eight years to the day since the Irish knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup.
That defeat for Pakistan in Jamaica was followed the day after by the death of coach Bob Woolmer.
Pakistan are on a roll after three straight wins, including a victory over highly-fancied South Africa, after starting the tournament with two straight losses.
They dismissed Ireland for just 237 despite a century from Irish captain William Porterfield, who won the toss.
The opener’s 107 followed Ed Joyce’s 112 against Zimbabwe as the second Ireland hundred of this World Cup.
Ireland, who have already beaten two Test nations at this tournament in the West Indies and Zimbabwe, found runs hard to come by, with Pakistan’s bowling at the ‘death’ especially impressive.
Porterfield apart, only Gary Wilson (29) got past 20 as left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz led Pakistan’s attack with three for 54.
“The fast bowlers did a great job in the last three or four games,” said Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
“It is a good pitch and we have to chase this total. Early on in this competition we were struggling but we are all motivated to do well now.”
New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh have all qualified for the quarter-finals from Pool A, while India, the defending champions, and South Africa have both made it through from Pool B.