The West Indies couldn’t have asked for a better start to their new year campaign by signing off the first ODI against Ireland with a win. At the Kennsington Oval, at Barbados, a famous hunting ground of sorts for the hosts, Ireland was tamed with considerable ease, newly-appointed captain Kieron Pollard and the team winning the opening ODI of the 3-match series by 5 wickets.
A day where the Irish batting was found struggling, key batsmen never really settling in their role or succeeding in harvesting partnerships, the West Indies bowlers were all over the visitors akin to a hunter cornering a prey. The first ODI of the series produced a lowly total, the West Indies comfortably overcoming the opponents inside the 34th over with 16 more to play.
But that said, what were the talking points from West Indies vs Ireland 1st ODI 2020?
Alzarri Joseph’s Match-Winning Spell
Fast, aggressive, and feisty- while 2019 might not really have been Alzarri Joseph’s year, it seemed that the tall West Indian pacer was keen to make amends in 2020 for the team and for the sake of his career.
Joseph bowled cautiously and fast, emerging as the key Caribbean tearaway in the opening ODI of the series and ended up with match-winning figures of 4 for 32 from his quota of 10 overs.
What was incredible was that at a time where the Irish batsmen burst out initially in a spell of a cracker of strokes against the likes of Cottrell and Paul, Joseph, brought into the attack as the first change bowler immediately put the Irish batsmen on the backfoot.
Bowling with good pace and bounce, he induced cracks in the Irish top and the middle order through an impressive demonstration of good pace bowling, collecting what would become his best bowling figures ever against the Irish team and hence among the key talking points of the West Indies vs Ireland 1st ODI 2020.
Lorcan Tucker’s Lone Vigil
Among the youngest and most impressive of Irish talents, Lorcan Tucker, who’s only 23, was able to demonstrate some resistance with the bat for the visiting team in front of a disciplined and restrictive West Indian bowling effort. Of the paltry 180 compiled with significant difficulty by his team, Lorcan alone contributed with a very valuable 31, his best score thus far against the Caribbean side.
Staying on a wicket that seemed to be assisting the bowlers in the first half, for a good amount of time, facing 68 deliveries, Tucker was the only Irish batsman who was able to hold his head high against the attacking duo of Joseph and Paul.
While 31 runs weren’t enough in the end, it did prove that not all batsmen from a camp that had the likes of O’Brien, Porterfield, and Stirling were abysmal failures.
Simi Singh’s Impressive Bowling
Not an awful lot is known and famously so about Ireland’s India-born spin talent Simi Singh. The 32-year-old exponent of off-spin proved to be the only effective and miserly Irish spinner who bowled to his strength and was by far the best bowler in the camp.
In bowling his full quota of 10 overs, Singh, who hadn’t thus far bowled in the Caribbean, got the key wickets of the big-hitting Hetmyer (8) and Brandon King (20).
His effective bowling that challenged the West Indians somewhat, a batting unit that doesn’t always excel against spin anyways, was among the key talking points from West Indies vs Ireland 1st ODI 2020.
Evin Lewis’ Heroics Steal The Show
Among the Windies batsmen whose skills with the bat still connote the famous Caribbean flair, Evin Lewis is someone you don’t take your eyes away from when he gets going. And much to Ireland’s dismay, this is exactly what transpired when the belligerent left-hander walked onto the 22 yards during the Caribbean team’s chase at Barbados.
Big strokes, powerful punches through the covers and strong flicks down the fine-leg region were common occurrences as Lewis collected 13 fours and 2 sixes during his run-a-ball 99.
While the likes of Hope and Hetmyer came and disappeared around him, Lewis kept going and in the end, remained unbeaten with just a run short of what might have been a highly-deserved 3rd ODI century. Yet his powerful batting was enough to ensure that the team got off to a winning start.
Perfect Team Play By West Indies
One doesn’t usually see the West Indians challenging the opponents collectively as one unit. Usually, it’s one or two individual performances that stand out for a side that has no dearth of flair or flourish. But one of the key talking points from the West Indies vs Ireland 1st ODI 2020 was a measured and effective team effort, led by the likes of Alazarri Joseph with the white ball and Evin Lewis with the bat.
While there were certain disappointments in the team’s maiden game in the new year, notedly Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer with the bat, but the likes of Roston Chase- 19 0ff 26 and 1 for 35 off 10 overs- Cottrell- 2 for 39 off 9 overs- along with the likes of an in-form Joseph and Lewis stole the show in the Windies’ favor.
Having whisked away to a fine start with 2 more games left in the 50-over series, the West Indies seem fine favorites to seal the fate of the contests in their favor.