Finally, an Ireland win. You read that right. Just when Ireland’s tour to the West Indies was fast becoming a one-dimensional, uninteresting contest bellied by Windies’ clear assault on their visitors, the Balbirnie-led side bounced back taking the hosts by a complete surprise.
In perhaps what was Ireland’s most impressive and daunting win over the West Indies in the shortest format, runs came akin to free-flowing wind, the Irish batsmen dealing in boundaries and sixes. A total of 412 runs were thudded at Grenada, Ireland alone compiling 208 of those. And implicit in that huge mark was the immense contribution of one of their game’s most-respected figureheads, one who hadn’t been in that great a form.
Big shots came as if it were child’s play and runs were collected with the same ease it takes a child to devour a candy. And it wasn’t just about runs alone but capturing key wickets at every crucial junction- wherein it seemed another stand that would go any longer would take the game into Windies’ favor- kept Ireland on top.
Not that the West Indies didn’t give Ireland any scares; taking the game well into the final over, but it just wasn’t going to go their day. Against a big record-tumbling display of inspired batting and bowling by the Irish, what were the key talking points from the West Indies vs Ireland 1st T20, 2020?
Stirling On Strike= Carnage For Windies
The T20 format has witnessed big hitters like Warner, Gayle, Maxwell, Russell, Stoinis, Rohit, Brathwaite, De Villiers. Any indications why it’s unwise to forget that Paul Stirling too, exists in the dimension were reminded when the experienced attacker of the white-ball got going, which was pretty much from the first ball he faced.
In taking no time whatsoever to announce his intentions, Stirling cut loose and just didn’t give any chance to the Windies bowlers to evade what was an exhibition of spiteful big-hitting. Seeming as if he was in some cantankerous mood, the powerful right-hander put Bravo, Pollard, Pierre and others to the sword.
In inspiring Ireland to beat all other T20 playing teams in scoring the most runs ever from the powerful, Stirling’s Midas touch, hitherto missing upon his arrival in the Caribbean, took Ireland to 93 off just 6 overs.
But by then, the Windies knew what they were against. It’s sad that Paul Stirling wasn’t able to convert his knock into what would’ve been a much-deserved maiden T20 ton, collecting 95 mighty valuable runs from just 47.
O’Brien Finally Gets Much-Needed Runs, Stands Tall In Record Stand
One of the most important talking points from Ireland vs Windies 1st T20, 2020 was O’Brien’s effort in the opening stand that ensured enough destruction was done for Windies to ever master.
No team has thus far compiled a magnificent stand of 93 from just 6 overs. It’s not just a world record, but a towering one at that. When Stirling and O’Brien got going, which was from the word ‘go’, the team seemed in safe hands.
While containing the mightily in-form Stirling seemed no easy task in itself, the fact that Kevin O’Brien got going at the other end, proved to be the nadir for the Windies.
One of the most experienced Irish talents but one who’d been clearly struggling finally expressed himself and with glee, scoring an important 48 off just 32 balls, including 2 big hits and 4 fours.
O’Brien was a sound rotator of the strike, who held onto an end while Stirling was busy attacking the clueless West Indians at the other end. The crucial factor, however, heading into Sunday’s game is whether O’Brien can continue to score?
Evin Lewis Continues To Pile On The Runs
Evin Lewis was, once again, at his very best, scoring a quickfire 29-ball-53, his sixth T20 fifty.
Muscling strong blows over square on the off side, his favorite region, and toward extra cover, Lewis was punishing and focused despite being the more attacking of the two including Hetmyer, who arrived when Lewis lost his opening partner Simmons, for 22.
But in the end, the in-form batsman’s much-entertaining fifty wasn’t going to be enough for the team. While others came and went, but not before getting fluent starts, most noticeably captain Pollard, in his 31 (at a strike rate of well over 200), the Windies just couldn’t get their nerves together to chase down a daunting total in the end. That said, Lewis’ consistent batting, at the back of a fine ODI hundred, just days before was among the key facets of Ireland vs Windies 1st T20, 2020.
Exceptional Irish Fielding In The Deep
The fielding of the defending side was among the big talking points from Ireland vs Windies 1st T20, 2020. Central to Ireland’s impressive win over the Windies was the team’s exceptional, error-free catching in the deep. Catches win matches as they say and the team cut no corners in ensuring an absolute spot-on display of electrifying fielding as Dockrell and Delany, among the most alert guarders in the deep, turned the game into their team’s favor by holding onto very difficult skiers, removing Simmons, Pollard, Pooran, Rutherford and Bravo between them.
It wasn’t that the strikes that led to well-set Windies batsmen’s ouster were any easy catches to grab, but focused fielding despite the game hanging by the knife’s edge in what might even have been a successful run-chase for Windies brought Ireland out on top.
Dwayne Bravo Returns, Almost Makes It Count
Dwayne Bravo returned to international cricket after having been on the sidelines for over 3 years.
But his return was bittersweet if it might be said as while he excelled with the ball, he couldn’t succeed in taking his side over the line in the final over of the Windies’ unsuccessful chase.
Though, when the experienced right-hander powered an overpitched one by Little over deep mid-wicket for a six, reducing the equation to 7 needed off 5, it did seem that Windies would go over the line.
But the inability to hold his nerve rattled the equation, Little making a big impact in the end.
That said, Bravo was a stand-out performer with the ball, despite having been welcomed by Stirling for 18 in his maiden over upon his much-anticipated return to the T20 fold.
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