ICC World Cup 2015: Ireland shock West Indies, ease to 4-wicket win
Nelson (New Zealand), Feb 16 (IANS) Ireland put the West Indies bowlers to the sword and eased to a four-wicket win, causing the first major upset of the ICC World Cup at the Saxton Oval here on Monday.
Chasing 305 for the win, the Irish scored 307 for six in 45.5 overs to record their fifth World Cup victory. Ireland had previously defeated Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and the Netherlands in World Cups. Opener Paul Stirling led the charge for the Irish smashing 92 off 84 balls and was given brilliant support by Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O'Brien (79 not out).
The pair added 106 runs for the second wicket following a 71-run stand between captain William Porterfield (23) and Stirling. Joyce and O'Brien added another 96 runs for the third wicket as the Irish sped towards the target.
The Irish were 273 for three in the 40th over and it seemed they would finish off the match quite quickly. However, three wickets for just six runs put the cat among the pigeons. Niall O'Brien, though, kept his cool and steered Ireland to a memorable victory with 25 balls to spare.
Earlier, a 154-run stand between Lendl Simmons (102) and Darren Sammy (89) spared West Indies the blushes and powered them to 304 for seven. The West Indies found themselves in heaps of trouble after being put into bat.
From wobbling at 87 for five, the West Indies managed to rally back to finish with a sizeable total, thanks largely to the 154-run partnership for the sixth wicket, off just 127 balls, between Simmons and Sammy. Sammy fell 11 short of what would have been his maiden ODI ton, but Simmons managed to press on to get to the mark.
Irish spinner George Dockrell was the pick of the bowlers with his spell of three for 50. Earlier, explosive opener Chris Gayle (36) got off to an uncharacteristically slow start. That put pressure on Dwayne Smith (18) and he fell in the eighth over trying to up the ante.
Darren Bravo (0) was run out without facing a ball as the West Indies slipped to 31 for two. Gayle and Marlon Samuels (21) put on a 47-run partnership for the third wicket. But Gayle was caught in the outfield while trying to hit Dockrell out of the ground. That sparked a mini collapse as Samuels fell after two balls and Denesh Ramdin (1) after nine more runs.
Simmons and Sammy got together and blitzed the Irish bowling to all parts of the ground. Simmons hit nine boundaries and five sixes while Sammy plundered nine fours and four sixes. In the end, Andre Russell smashed 27 off just 13 balls to take the Windies past the 300-mark.
West Indies: 304 for seven in 50 overs (Lendl Simmons 102, Darren Sammy 89; George Dockrell 3-50, John Mooney 1-59) lost to Ireland: 307 for six in 45.5 overs (Paul Stirling 92, Ed Joyce 84; Jerome Taylor 3-71, Chris Gayle 1-41)