Warning Bells for Others as Ireland Chase Down 304 Emphatically
Ireland 307-6 (Stirling 92) beat
West Indies 304-7 (Simmons 102) by four wickets
World Cup, 5th match, Pool B, Nelson
Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien compiled fine innings as Ireland chased down 304 against West Indies at Saxton Oval, winning their World Cup Pool B match by four wickets.
"Yes, definitely," William Porterfield said emphatically when asked the audience question, as to whether they believe Ireland could qualify for the knock-out stage.
That confidence is what showed up the whole way in their stunning victory, as Ireland brewed another successful 300 plus run-chase to show what they are capable of.
Ireland won the toss and chose to field. Spirited on the field, they put West Indies on the back foot immediately, saving at least a dozen runs.
Chris Gayle (36) was unusually slow by his standards. The only sizeable partnership at the top was 47 between Gayle and Marlon Samuels (21) as West Indies failed to capitalize on a good batting strip.
A mix-up that led to Darren Bravo’s (0) run out without even facing a delivery didn’t help either.
West Indies, reduced to 87 for five in the 24th over were resurrected by a breathtaking partnership of 154 between Lendl Simmons (102) and Darren Sammy (89) who was also offered a life.
Sammy struggled with cramps during his innings, but continued to strike at a rate of 132, overtaking Simmons in the scoring.
Simmons only took off after Sammy’s departure, hitting some lusty blows.
The final impetus came from Andre Russell (27) who played another cameo to push the score past 300, a tradition of sorts at this World Cup, with all teams batting first doing it.
For Ireland, off-spinner Andy McBrine (0-26) was brilliant in his 10-over spell, while left-arm spinner George Dockrell (3-50) picked up the important wickets of Gayle, Samuels and Denesh Ramdin (1).
The Ireland pursuit was confident and was further enlivened by a bad start from skipper Jason Holder (0-44) who began proceedings with a four off a wide.
Paul Stirling (92), who plays for Middlesex, continued to pull and hook some short pitched West Indian bowling, in spite of being hit once by Jerome Taylor.
He put on 71 with skipper William Porterfield (23) and then another 106 with the 36-year-old Ed Joyce (84).
In fact, that was the hallmark of the Ireland batting as Ed Joyce continued the good work after Stirling’s departure, putting on 96 with Niall O’Brien (79 not out), taking Ireland almost to the doorstep of victory.
There was a minor blip in the end, as Ireland lost Joyce, Andy Balbirnie (9), Gary Wilson (1) and Kevin O’Brien (0) within five overs for the addition of just 18 runs.
Eventually, it was a top-edged pull from John Mooney (6 not out) that ensured Ireland a memorable victory, their fifth in the World Cup, fourth against a Test-playing nation and third chasing a 300-plus score.
For West Indies, Kemar Roach (0-52) looked jaded and down on pace while Taylor (3-71) was expensive, despite picking up some late wickets.
West Indies turned to as many as eight bowlers in search of partnership breakers, but they looked rusty and out of form, most of the time.
Stirling was picked as the man of the match. By chasing down 304, Ireland also now have three of the six 300-plus scores chased down at the World Cup.
They have also broken a mini streak of teams batting first winning so far at this World Cup.
© Cricket World 2015