West Indies, the only team to win T20 World Cup twice, were knocked out of the current edition of the tournament after losing their final Group B qualification match against Ireland by 9 wickets in Hobart on Friday. West Indies stumbled badly in their opening match against Scotland, crashing by 42 runs, before recovering to emphatically beat Zimbabwe.
All four teams in the group, which also includes Scotland and Zimbabwe, headed into a do-or-die situation with one win and one loss. Ireland, who had lost to Zimbabwe before bouncing back with a come-from-behind victory, produced a clinical performance against the mighty Windies with both bat and ball to sail through to the Super 12 stage.
Chasing a target of 147, Ireland openers Paul Stirling and captain Andrew Balbirnie got them off to a dream start. There was no sign of nerve from either batter as they came out with a clear mindset of making good use of the powerplay.
Stirling and Balbirnie were sevre against West Indies’ left-arm spinner Akeal Hossein, who generally bowls tight overs in the powerplay. When Nicholas Pooran turned to pace, they too were meted with the same treatment.
Alzarri Joseph went for 10 in his first over while Odean Smith was taken apart in the next over. He gave away 14 runs in his first over as the boundaries continued to flow from both ends.
Ireland raced to 64/0 in the powerplay. Balbirnie was dismissed for 37 off 23 balls but Stirling continued on his merry way and was well supported by Lorcan Tucker, who was dismissed off a no-ball.
Stirling got to his fifty off 32 balls. He remained unbeaten on 65 off 46 balls as Ireland reached home in the 18th over. The experienced right-hander, who was not in the best of forms, showed his class by hitting two sixes and six fours in his blemishless innings.
Tucker brought up the winning runs in style, dancing down the wicket to smash Obed McCoy for four, triggering wild cheers from a smattering of Irish fans. Tucker was unbeaten on 45 off 34 balls.
The emphatic win also improved Ireland’s run rate and gave them an opportunity to finish as the group-toppers. They will have to wait for the result for the Scotland vs Zimbabwe match later in the day.
Earlier, Gareth Delany’s brilliant 3 for 16 in 4 overs, restricted West Indies to 146/5. Brandon King was the top-scorer for them with an unbeaten 62 off 48 balls.
Ireland’s win was set-up by Delany, who got the crucial wickets of West Indies opener Evin Lewis, captain Nicholas Pooran, and big-hitter Rovman Powell.
“Incredible day for us, to get over the line in the fashion we did was amazing. Nathan Hauritz came up with the plan to keep it simple and be defensive, knowing they would come hard. Personally it’s a dream come true, delighted. Campher’s knock the other day gave us a chance and now we’re through. Look forward to the next few weeks,” said Delany, who was adjudged Player for the Match.