Ireland does it again
After stunning boilovers against Pakistan in 2007 and England in 2011, Ireland has produced the first shock result of the 2015 World Cup, downing West Indies by four wickets in the first successful run chase of the tournament. The Windies recovered from a shaky start to post 7/304, but Ireland veritably cruised to victory, negotiating a few late-innings jitters to reach the sizeable target with 25 balls to spare. The party atmosphere at Nelson’s Saxton Oval – with support overwhelming in favour of the Irish – was a feature of the day, and highlighted the positives of playing less high-profile fixtures at smaller grounds rather than cavernous stadiums.
— ICC (@ICC) February 16, 2015
Is this team a danger?
Captain William Porterfield certainly thinks so, declaring that the momentous win wasn’t an upset and stating his team’s goal to pick up two points from every match they play. Ireland’s next games are against fellow outsiders UAE and Zimbabwe, and while a victory over the likes of South Africa and India may be a fanciful dream at this stage, Pakistan won’t be taking the final fixture of Pool B on March 15 lightly. At this stage, third spot in the pool is a realistic aim for Ireland, while they already have one foot in the quarter-finals door.
Bowlers set up the triumph
Ireland’s batting heroics garnered most of the attention, but their bowlers did an outstanding job at the start of the day to suffocate the Windies. Struggling at 2/31 in the eighth over, the favourites were stunned when spinner George Dockrell dislodged Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin in the space of 13 balls. They recovered from 5/87 to maintain the trend of sides batting first topping 300, but Ireland’s chase proved that a score of 330-plus was probably about par at the small ground.
That was extremely enjoyable #CWC15 unbelievable performance by our bowlers to keep that Windies line-up to 304
— Ed Joyce (@edjoyce24) February 16, 2015
Positives for Windies
Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy pulled the Windies out of their hole, putting on a dazzling 154 for the sixth wicket. Simmons plundered 102 from 82 balls, including nine fours and five sixes, while Sammy smashed nine fours and four sixes in his 89 off just 67 deliveries. Andre Russell’s late cameo (27 not out off 13) pushed the embattled side past 300. Although he went wicketless, young fast bowler Jerome Taylor was economical, returning figures of 0/44 off nine. This team still boasts enough danger-men to rescue their campaign, and even the Pool B heavyweights would be foolhardy to treat the West Indies as easybeats.
Studs of the day
It’s impossible to split Ireland’s three batting stars of the day. Paul Stirling (92 off 84), Ed Joyce (84 off 67) and Niall O’Brien (79 not out 60) were simply outstanding as the underdogs made light work of the run chase.
- There have been six successful 300-plus run chases in World Cup history; Ireland is responsible for three of them.
- West Indies superstar Chris Gayle’s ODI batting average since 2013 is a meagre 18.7.
- Darren Sammy’s 89 is a World Cup record for a No.7 batsman.
- Paul Stirling’s 92 is the highest by an Ireland opener in against a top-eight nation at a World Cup.
- Six 300-plus scores have already been posted, more than each of the first seven World Cups. The 2011 edition holds the record with 17.
New Zealand take on Scotland in Dunedin on today. Low-key clashes between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Canberra, and Zimbabwe and UAE in Nelson, follow in the next two days before a string of blockbusters from Friday-Sunday.