McBrine, Tector star in rain-shortened victory to square series against West Indies
Ireland Men have levelled the ODI series at 1-1 after a comfortable five-wicket victory against the West Indies in the second one-day international at Sabina Park in Kingstown today.
West Indies Men v Ireland Men, 2nd ODI, Sabina Park, Jamaica, 13 January 2022
West Indies 229 (48 overs: R Shepherd 50, O Smith 46; A McBrine 4-36, C Young 3-42)
Ireland 168-5 (32.3 overs: H Tector 54*, A McBrine 35; A Hosein 2-51)
Ireland won by 5 wickets
While there were a number of key contributors to the visiting side’s victory, Andy McBrine’s and Harry Tector’s contributions stood out at a cricket ground that has already produced many happy memories for Irish fans over the years.
McBrine bowled beautifully – he was controlled, economical, and crucially claimed four wickets, then came out with the bat and made a well-crafted 35, which helped propel Ireland to the win.
Meanwhile, Tector continued his stunning run of form in the 50-over format hitting his sixth ODI half-century in his last nine innings. His 54* today was near faultless, showing an array of shots around the ground, as well as a number of sublimely-timed drives through the off-side.
Ireland’s batters demonstrated they had learned hard lessons from the first ODI – a game which the team admitted that they feel was one they threw away. Tector has said after the first match that “he will live and learn” from the disappointment of that match, and indeed, today he delivered. His control of the innings – coming in at 60-2 to remain unbeaten in a successful run chase – showed a maturity to his batting that many knew he had within him, but he hadn’t fully displayed. Until today.
When Gareth Delany clipped the ball past point to win the match, there was joyous celebration by an Irish team who had fought through diversity off the field over the last week, and showed the cricket world they had the skill, guile and resilience to compete with the best.
Earlier in the day, with Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie sidelined from this match with a COVID infection, stand-in captain Paul Stirling won the toss and elected to bat under early morning cloudless skies.
Stirling had captained six T20 Internationals, but this was his first ODI in charge – and early on it looked as though he had a charmed start to ODI captaincy. Three early wickets fell - two of which were overturned on review after being given not out. Craig Young was the early dangerman with the ball, claiming 3-12 in his first 4 over spell - he nicked off Shai Hope (17), bowled Justin Greaves (10), and then trapped Nicholas Pooran (1) in front.
After a steadying 48-run fourth wicket stand between Shamarh Brooks and Roston Chase (13), Stirling was back in the thick of the action with a spectacular reflex catch of Chase off Andy McBrine.
Circumstances, though, began to ring eerily familiar. In the last match, Ireland had West Indies at 62-4, from which the home side recovered to post 269 – the Irish did not want to let the Caribbean side off the hook a second time.
This time Kieron Pollard - fresh off a 69 in the last match – couldn’t repeat the his run-scoring feat in this game. The off-spinner McBrine had bowled tightly coming around the wicket to the right-handers, but switched over-the-wicket and claimed the prize wicket of Pollard the very next ball for 1. Pollard fell with the score on 93-5, and was soon followed back to the pavilion by all-rounder Jason Holder, nicking off to Josh Little for three.
Stirling kept his attacking fields and was rewarded with the wicket of Brooks for 43 – trapped LBW trying to sweep the left-armer Dockrell.
However, taking a counter-attacking approach, Romario Shepherd (50 off 41 balls) and Odean Smith (49 off 19 balls) put on late runs. The pair combined for a ninth wicket stand of 58 from 27 balls – carrying West Indies beyond 200 and giving their side a chance on a pitch that increasingly looked good for batting.
The West Indies total of 229 was inflated unfortunately by 27 wides – a bowling statistic the Men in Green would not have welcomed, and the most number of wides Ireland has bowled in an innings since they bowled 23 wides in the World Cup match against Pakistan at the same venue back in 2007.
McBrine’s 4-29 was his second-best bowling figures in ODI cricket and moved him into fifth place on Ireland’s all-time ODI wicket-taking list.
Ireland’s batting response started sprightly with Stirling (21) and William Porterfield (26) putting on a 37-run stand in 30 balls, before Stirling lunged forward to off-spinner Hosein and edged it to Holder at first slip. During the innings Stirling became the first batter for Ireland to register 5,000 career ODI runs.
Porterfield looked to maintain the aggressive start – striking three boundaries and a pick-up pull shot for six over the fine leg boundary. His dismissal on the last ball of the 10th over left Ireland 60-2, but McBrine and Tector buckled down and stabilised the innings with seeming ease.
After a five over period of ticking the scoreboard over, McBrine began to up the scoring tempo, at one point hitting Hosein for a six and four in consecutive balls in the 19th over – both shots played long and high down the ground, showing a good use of his feet as he came forward to meet the ball on the half-volley.
But the very next over, after slapping a boundary to the mid-wicket boundary, McBrine received a fierce short ball from Shepherd and he top-edged to straight to the fine leg fielder out for 35.
Curtis Campher joined Tector and the pair put on 53 runs – Tector hitting 37 of those runs – before Campher was bowled by Hosein, stepping back to cut a ball that hurried onto him. Tector brought up his sixth ODI half-century in the last nine matches off 61 balls, before rain intervened and players left the field for an hour.
When play resumed, the adjusted target due to overs lost was 168, meaning the Irish batters required 11 runs from 28 balls. This they knocked off comfortably, with Tector remaining not out on 54.
Player of the Match, Andy McBrine said:
“This means a lot to us. The last week has been ridiculous, but we stuck at it, we stuck together as a group and showed we’ve got a fighting spirit left in us.”
After the match, Stirling said:
“It means a lot – we’re delighted with how the lads responded, coming from a tough loss the other day where we thought we were really in the game a lot of the time, and to come and put on a performance like this after the off-field activities that have gone on. We’re delighted to get the win today, we really are.
“Craig Young is bowling really well – he used to be given the new ball not so long ago, but he’s been given a different task to come in when it’s tougher as a bowler usually. He still gets a lot out of the wicket – the wicket that he got bowled today nipped a lot. When he gets it right he’s fantastic for us.
“Harry, I can’t say high enough praise for him – he’s been in world class form. He keeps backing up performance after performance, and that’s all we can ask. We’ve got a small-enough pool of players, so when people like that stand up like that at a young age – he’s only going to get better and better. I really look forward to seeing where he’s at in five years’ time.
“Look, it’s consistency is all that we ask from our lads, we have struggled with that in the past, but we’ve got a real opportunity here to make our stamp on the series and win it. There’s no doubt we got the best end of the stick twice with winning the toss – so we’ll go away now, we’ve a few things to think on – we’re not the finished article, because if it is then we’re in trouble. The last 10 overs in our bowling innings we can hopefully do a lot better – if we make that better today, then we make the run chase even easier. There’s a lot to improve on, but that makes it exciting as well.”
Ireland and West Indies are back for the third World Cup Super League match on Sunday at the same ground.