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It was a bright sunny day at Saxton Oval and fearless Ireland on this day that will be remembered for years to come in the faraway pubs and Belfast. Batting with panache, bowling with purpose and fielding with precision, the Irish chased down 305 runs against West Indies to infuse the first round in 2015 ICC World Cup with life on February 16.
It has been years now, the Irish had punched above their weight, pulling off amazing upsets more than once, but today it hardly sounds an upset. From the very beginning of the first delivery of the game, till the moment when the winning runs were scored, there wasn’t a single Irish cricketer with any self doubt. The manner in which Ireland set the pace against West Indies, showed just how good they really were. West Indies is a kind of team that could so easily have bossed them over on another day.
Today in this match there was no fluke. The conditions were not stacked especially in Ireland’s favor. On the other hand, West Indies did not take their opponents lightly.
Ireland team put the West Indian bowlers to the edge of sword and eased to a four-wicket win. Today, they have caused the first major upset in 2015 ICC World Cup at Saxton Oval.
Brief scores of the match:
West Indies: 304/7 in 50 overs.
Lendl Simmons: 102
Darren Sammy: 89
George Dockrell 3-50, John Mooney 1-59
Ireland: 307/6 in 45.5 overs
Paul Stiring: 92
Ed Joyce: 84
Jerome Taylor 3-71, Chris Gayle 1-41.
The Irish scored 307 for six in 45.5 overs in chasing down 305 runs for victory. It is their fifth World Cup victory. Previously, they have defeated Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and the Netherlands in ICC World Cups. Irish opener Paul Stirling led the charge by scoring 92 off 84 balls and was supported brilliantly by Ed Joyce (84 runs) and Niall O’Brien (79 not out) in the to victory.
The pair added valuable 106 runs for the second wicket followed by an initial 71-run partnership between the Irish captain William Porterfield (23 runs) and Paul Stirling. O’Brien and Joyce added another 96 runs for the third wicket as the Ireland marched towards the massive target.
When Ireland gathered 273 runs for just 3 wickets in the 40th over, it seemed that they would finish it off quite quickly. However, then it happened as they loose three for just six runs. Responsible batsman Niall O’Brien then kept his cool and steered Ireland team to an unforgettable victory with 25 ball remaining.
Earlier, in West Indies innings, a 154-runs stand between Lendl Simmons (102 runs) and former captain Darren Sammy (89 runs) powered them to a massive total of 304. The West Indies team found themselves in heaps of trouble after being put into bat against Ireland.
At once the scorecard told us 87 for five. But, with a 154 runs partnership for the sixth wicket between Sammy and Simmons, West Indies managed to rally back to finish with a sizeable total of 304. Darren Sammy fell just 11 short of what would have been his maiden one day international century, but Simmons managed to press on to get the mark of scoring hundred.
Irish spinner George Dockrell picked up three wickets for the cost of 50 runs. Earlier, explosive opener Chris Gayle (36 runs) got off to an unlikely slow start. Batsman Dwayne Smith took it as a pressure and got out at 18. Smith fell in the eighth over trying to up the ante.
Darren Bravo (0 runs), one of the key to West Indian batting line, got himself run out withoit facing a ball as West Indies slipped to 31 for two. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels (21 runs) put on a 47-run stay for the third wicket. But then, Gayle was caught in the outfield when he tried to hit Dockrell out of the ground. After two balls when Marlon Samuels fell, that sparked a mini collapse for West Indies team. The catastrophe came when Dinesh Ramdin (1run) got out after nine more runs.
Sammy and Simmons got together and blitzed the Ireland team bowling to all parts of the ground. Simmons hit nine fours and five sixes while Sammy plundered nine fours and four sixes. Eventually, Andre Russel smashed 27 runs off just 13 balls to take West Indies past the 300-mark.