Irish players celebrate their stunning victory over the West Indies. (Image: Twitter/@ICC)
Two-time champions West Indies have been knocked out of the T20 World Cup following a crushing 9-wicket loss to Ireland in a Group B clash in Hobart. Paul Stirling hit his 21st T20I fifty as Ireland chased down the 147-run target with 15 balls to spare. Stirling remained unbeaten on 66 while Lorcan Tucker remained not out on 45. Skipper Andrew Balbirnie also made a useful contribution of 37 runs at the top of the order.
Ireland are through to the Super 12 🎉A comprehensive performance in Hobart sees them knocking West Indies out of the tournament#T20WorldCup |#IREvWI | 📝: https://t.co/LNaSAJSEKW pic.twitter.com/iT0mYvnNzP
The Europeans were off to a flying start in the powerplay as Stirling and Balbirnie powered them to 64 in 6 overs. Ireland lost their first wicket on 73 runs after skipper Balbirnie was dismissed for 37 by Akeal Hosein in the 8th over.
Earlier, a superb spell by leg spinner Gareth Delaney helped Ireland restrict West Indies to a modest 146/5 in 20 overs. Delaney (3/16) took crucial wickets of Evin Lewis (13), Nicholas Pooran (13), and Rovman Powell (6) to stifle the explosive Windies batting order. And if it was not for Brandon King’s unbeaten 62-run knock, and Odean Smith’s 12-ball-19-run cameo in the death overs, the two-time champions would have struggled to even cross the 130-run mark.
Ireland started the game on a bright, striking twice in the powerplay to rattle the West Indian top order. While Barry McCarthy dismissed Kyle Mayers (1) in the third over, Simi Singh got rid of a dangerous-looking Johnson Charles (24).
Earlier, West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran won the toss and opted to bat in Hobart.
The West Indies won the tournament in 2012 and 2016, but came to Australia with a new-look team after the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard retired, and Andre Russell was overlooked.
They stumbled badly in their opening match against Scotland, crashing by 42 runs, before recovering to emphatically beat Zimbabwe.
But in Ireland, who are playing in their seventh straight World Cup and had only been beyond the first round once before, in 2009, they again hit the wall.
After the West Indies won the toss and batted at a breezy Bellerive Oval in Hobart, the Irish bowlers sent down nine dot balls among their first 15.
In frustration, Kyle Mayers launched at a delivery from Barry McCarthy and was caught by Harry Tector at mid-off for one.
The dangerous Johnson Charles slammed 4-4-6 off Curtis Campher but his luck ran out in the next over, slicing to Campher off spinner Simi Singh for 24.
Brandon King, who missed the West Indies’ last game with illness, was dropped two balls later and made the most of the opportunity, crunching four boundaries to steer them to 67-2 at halfway.
Evin Lewis received treatment for a hamstring issue and was out soon after for 13, ending a 44-run partnership.
Skipper Nicholas Pooran (13) and Rovman Powell (6) didn’t last against a quality attack as King (62 not out) did his best to push the scoreboard forward.
In reply, Ireland got off to a cracking start with Stirling and Balbirnie on a mission, blazing 54 off the first five overs, with eight boundaries, four of them sixes.
The spin of Akeal Hosein finally gave the West Indies a breakthrough in the eighth over with Balbirnie caught by Mayers after an entertaining 37 off 23 balls to end a decisive opening stand.
The run rate dipped but Stirling, in his 177th international, kept going and reached his 21st T20 half-century with another boundary and with Lorcan Tucker (45 not out) saw them home.
Brief scores after the West Indies innings in their third and final preliminary round match of the Twenty20 World Cup against Ireland in Hobart on Friday:
West Indies 146-5 in 20 overs (Brandon King 62 not out, Johnson Charles 24; Gareth Delany 3-16)
Ireland 150-1 in 17.3 overs (Paul Stirling 66 not out, Lorcan Tucker 45 not out)
Toss: West Indies
(With Agency Inputs)
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