History was nearly made in Jamaica when Ireland came close to winning their first ever series against a recognised and established cricketing nation as they lost by 11 runs against the World T20 Champions West Indies in the second and final T20 match of the series.
The West Indies made two changes to the side that lost the first match as Andre Fletcher and Krishmar Santokie came in for opening talisman Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul. The Irish made an unchanged 11 from their famous six wicket victory.
Ireland won the toss and captain William Porterfield elected for his side to field first.
The West Indies started off positively as opener Andre Fletcher hit two sixes on his way to scoring a a quick 19 off 15 balls but that was to be their highest scorer in the innings.
He was the first victim to the pick of the Irish bowlers, Alex Cusack, when he swung at Cusack’s ball which was going away from the off stump and it nicked into the hands of the wicketkeeper Gary Wilson. Cusack then preceded to take the scalps of Dwayne Smith for 11, Denesh Ramdin for five and Samuel Badree for five. He ended up with figures of 4-11 off his allotted four overs.
Boundaries came few and far between as Fletcher was the only man to hit a six for the Windies and only four fours came in their 20 overs. Several of the West Indies side got into double figures but struggled to kick on and make a big score.
Ireland’s effort in the middle was a real test of their strength as they lost opener Paul Stirling as he bowled out for two runs by Krishmar Santokie. They then lost key men like Porterfield and Ed Joyce without them really testing the bowlers.
Ireland never really got to the grips with the run rate and struggled to score runs and get partnerships going, just like the West Indians in the first innings.
Wicketkeeper Gary Wilson nearly came to the rescue and top scored in not just the Ireland innings, but the entire game as he scored 35 from 39 balls. This came at a time when Ireland were 29-5 from 10 overs. But he was the seventh victim in Ireland’s downfall after he scooped a shot up in the air into the hands of bowler Dwayne Bravo.
Ireland needed twenty runs from the last over but couldn’t get the total to win the game and the series. It was a huge let off for West Indies as they didn’t look like a team who will fare well in defending their World Twenty 20 crown next month in Bangladesh. The Irish however will disappointed with their display with the bat but will be happy with their overall performance in series. Their final game of the series comes on the 23rd of February in a One Day International affair.
West Indies XI: Andre Fletcher, Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Narine, Santokie, Samuel Badree.
Ireland XI: William Porterfield*, Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Kevin O’Brien, Gary Wilson, Andrew Poynter, Stuart Thompson, Max Sorensen, Alex Cusack, Tim Murtagh, George Dockrell.
Umpires: Gregory Brathwaite (Barbados) & Joel Wilson (Trinidad & Tobago)
Match Referee: Dev Govindjee (South Africa)
Reserve Umpire: Nigel Duguid (Guyana)