Ireland beats West Indies by 4 wickets in World Cup
NELSON, New Zealand (AP) — Ireland pulled off yet another Cricket World Cup upset Monday when it raced to 307-6 to beat two-time champion the West Indies’ by four wickets with 25 balls to spare in a Pool B match, taking a giant stride toward the tournament’s quarterfinals.
Paul Stirling ignored the ball that clattered into his visor early in his innings to make 92, then Ed Joyce took up the chase and made 84 as Ireland surpassed the West Indies’ total with 21 balls, becoming the first team at the tournament to win while batting second.
Finally Niall O’Brien made an unbeaten 79 from 60 balls to complete the job, holding his composure during a late flurry of wickets which saw Ireland slip from 273-2 to 291-6 and set Irish hearts racing.
“It’s obviously fantastic,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said. “The way we set about chasing those runs was great and it sets us up now for the next few games. It’s a great position to be in.
“The self-belief has been growing in the squad for a long time and we thoroughly believed when we went out on the pitch today that we were capable of winning this game and not only this game other games in the competition and we’ve just got to continue that now throughout the tournament.”
Stirling and Joyce were members of the Ireland team that beat England in a famous upset at the 2011 World Cup, building on Ireland’s giant-killing reputation which had been forged when it beat Pakistan during its first World Cup appearance in 2007.
There have been only six occasions in 11 World Cups in which a team has won chasing more than 300 and three of those victories belong to Ireland.
After making the bold decision to bowl after winning the toss, Ireland took early control as left-arm spinner George Dockrell took 3-50 to leave the West Indies stumbling on 87-5.
Lendl Simmons, with 102, and deposed captain Darren Sammy, with his highest ODI score of 89, led the West Indies’ recovery to 304-7, sharing a 154-run partnership for the sixth wicket and helping their team add 124 runs in its last 10 overs.
Stirling and Porterfield gave Ireland the perfect platform for their run chase, putting on 71 in 13.3 overs for the first wicket, then Stirling and Joyce put on 106 in 14.2 overs — their century partnership from 84 balls — for the second. Ireland was always scoring well ahead of the West Indies’ run-rate, relieving any possible pressure their opponents tried to exert.
When Stirling was out in the 28th over, Ireland was 177-2 where the West Indies had been 102-5 at the same stage of their innings. By the 34th over, Ireland was 218-2, 93 ahead of the West Indies who had been 125-5 at the same point.
O’Brien then went on the offensive in company with Joyce, reaching his half century form 38 balls with his eighth four. The pair added 96 in 11.2 overs for the third wicket before Joyce holed out in the deep in the 40th over.
“Obviously putting 300 runs on the board, we backed ourselves to defend it but we didn’t bowl well enough today,” West Indies captain Jason Holder said.
Joyce was dropped by Darren Bravo off Holder when he was 42 and Holder dropped O’Brien off Jerome Taylor when he was 38.
The match marked the first appearance at this tournament of an associate team — one of cricket’s non test-playing nations — and delivered a stern rebuke to the International Cricket Council which will attempt to shut those teams out of the next World Cup by limiting entry to 10 teams.
Ireland’s victory was achieved with such a calm professionalism that it was hard to tell which was the top-eight team.
Ireland used its spinners to telling effect when the West Indies batted: Andy McBrine bowled his 10 overs for 26 runs to stifle the West Indies’ early scoring, then Dockrell took 3-50 to remove the cream of the West Indies’ batsmen, including Chris Gayle for 36 off 65 balls.
Dockrell also dismissed Marlon Samuels for 21 and Dinesh Ramdin (1) — both lbw — then took the catches that removed Simmons and Sammy during the West Indies’ late onslaught.