Ireland stunned the West Indies in the first of two Twenty20 clashes at Sabina Park, winning by six wickets and with five balls to spare.
It was a fine performance and an unexpected one. They have been in the Caribbean building up to this series and suffered defeats at the hands of Guyana and Jamaica along the way. But when the time came on to take the World T20 champions, they raised their game.
The hosts chose to bat first, but nobody managed a score of significance—with Chris Gayle's 18 the highest score from a poor total of 116-8.
In response, Ed Joyce led the way with 40 not out and played with caution, but keeping in control of the target throughout.
|West Indies vs. Ireland, 1st T20 Scorecard|
|West Indies Innings|
|Smith||c Sorensen||b Murtagh||14||50||13|
|Gayle||c Dockrell||b Cusack||18||51||19|
|Samuels||c Wilson||b Dockrell||16||4||17|
|Simmons||c Thompson||b Cusack||16||10||23|
|Dwayne Bravo||c K O'Brien||b Sorensen||8||6||14|
|Sammy||b K O'Brien||7||25||8|
|Ramdin||c Wilson||b K O'Brien||4||2|
|Extras||0nb 7w 0b 2lb||9|
|Total||for 8||116||(20.0 ovs)|
|Stirling||c Russell||b Rampaul||0||2||2|
|K O'Brien||not out||15||16||12|
|Extras||0nb 3w 0b 5lb||8|
|Total||for 4||117||(19.1 ovs)|
The sides will clash again at the same venue in Kingston, Jamaica on Friday night, with the West Indies needing to save face as well as the series.
It was a team effort from Ireland with their bowling attack contributing to stifle the firepower of the Windies.
Spinner George Dockrell managed economical figures of 1-15, while Tim Murtagh, Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien each prised out two wickets.
There was no respite, no partnerships and no daunting total.
Ireland were rocked—they fell to 8-2 in eight deliveries, with William Porterfield and Paul Stirling, but it simply brought Joyce to the middle to restore calm.
Gary Wilson and Andrew Poynter were happy to play around him, while O'Brien was on hand to knock off the winning runs.
Ireland, on the fringes of elite-level cricket, continue to impress and have given themselves a huge boost with the World T20 in Bangladesh now just a month away.