Ireland hold nerve to down Windies after Stirling fireworks

By Sports Desk January 15, 2020

Paul Stirling's blistering 95 set up a thrilling four-run triumph for Ireland in the opening T20I against West Indies in Grenada.

Stirling clattered eight sixes and six fours in a 47-ball knock, putting on 154 alongside Kevin O'Brien (48) for the opening wicket – meaning the tourists' eventual haul of 208-7 was relatively disappointing.

Evin Lewis was the only Windies batsman to pass fifty but muscular contributions from Shimron Hetmyer (28), Kieron Pollard (31), Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford (both 26) took the contest to the wire.

Rutherford and Dwayne Bravo – making his first international appearance since 2016 - fell to impressive left-arm seamer Josh Little (3-29) in the final over as Ireland bounced back from defeat in the recent ODI series to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber.

Their success was built upon the best powerplay score in T20I history as the openers stood on 83 without loss after six overs, Stirling having brought up his half century from 20 deliveries with his fifth six.

They duly brought up three figures in the next over but, after leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and Pollard took pace off the ball to slightly check the scoring rate, veteran all-rounder Bravo bowled O'Brien with a fine yorker that ducked in late.

Sterling mistimed a slog sweep off Walsh to be caught by Lewis five shy of a deserved century and Ireland never truly regained momentum.

Gareth Delany was their next highest scorer with 19, producing the shot of the innings with a glorious six over extra cover from Kesrick Williams, who returned a woeful 0-48 from three overs as Bravo, Khary Pierre and Sheldon Cottrell took two wickets apiece.

West Indies were unable to find a contribution of similar substance to Stirling's at the top of the innings after George Dockrell pouched a stunning catch at deep point to remove Lendl Simmons for 22, with Little the beneficiary.

Lewis stormed to a sixth T20I fifty and was typically strong square of the wicket until he hit Craig Young to a scampering Harry Tector on 53.

Hetmyer looked in the mood with three towering sixes, only for an embattled Dockrell (1-51) to have him caught by captain Andy Balbirnie.

Pollard took up the mantle and kept his side up with the rate, although Dockrell continued to enjoy himself far more in the field and held on when the Windies skipper sent Simi Singh skyward.

The pattern continued with Pooran, who pulled Young (2-31) to Delany for 26 after the 18th over from Barry McCarthy (0-55) cost a damaging 27.

Rutherford found Dockrell's unerring hands at wide long-on before Bravo – sensing a picture-book return – also went six and out as Little and further flawless catching in the deep saw Ireland home, the Windies finishing just short on 204-7.

Related items

  • Six Nations 2020: The Breakdown – a statistical look at the third round of matches Six Nations 2020: The Breakdown – a statistical look at the third round of matches

    Family loyalty will go out of the window when England and Ireland do battle this weekend, and France face a major test of their Six Nations title credentials against Wales.

    Ireland beat defending champions Wales 24-14 in Dublin last time out, while France also made it two wins out of two with a 35-22 triumph over Italy.

    The joint-leaders will not have home comforts for the first time in the tournament, with the third round of matches seeing Les Bleus travel to Cardiff on Saturday and Ireland taking on England at Twickenham on Sunday.

    England captain Owen Farrell could inflict a first defeat on his father, Andy, since he become Ireland head coach.

    Winless Scotland and Italy do battle on Saturday at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, where the hosts go in search of their first points of the tournament.

    We take a look at what promises to a be pivotal round of matches with some standout Opta data.

     

    Italy v Scotland

    - Scotland have won six of their last seven Six Nations games against Italy, their solitary loss in that spell coming at Murrayfield in 2015 – the Azzurri’s last victory against any side in the Championship.

    - Seven of the last eight Six Nations meetings between Italy and Scotland in Rome have been decided by seven points or fewer.

    - Italy have spent 40 minutes in possession in the Six Nations this year, longer than any other side, making the most carries (300) and metres (857) in the process; in contrast, Scotland have spent the least time in possession during this campaign (33m 56s).

    - Scotland have missed just 25 tackles in this year's Six Nations, fewer than any of their rivals and as a result boast the best tackle success rate (91 per cent).

     

    Wales v France

    - Wales have won eight of their last nine Test matches against France, this after winning just two of their previous 12 clashes with Les Bleus before that run.

    - France and Scotland (7/7) are the only sides who boast a 100 per cent scrum success rate on their own feed in the Six Nations this year, while Wales have recorded the worst success rate at that particular set-piece - with 11 from 15.

    - France’s Bernard Le Roux has made the most tackles of any player in the tournament with 38, one more than Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones.

    - No player has beaten more defenders in the Six Nations this year than France's Antoine Dupont (10, level with Stuart Hogg), while he also has the second-most offloads with seven.

     

    England v Ireland

    - Ireland are the only side to hold a winning record over England in the Six Nations (winning 11 and losing nine); however, they suffered a record 57-15 to the Red Rose in their last meeting before the Rugby World Cup.

    - England have lost just one of their last 19 home games in the Six Nations (W17, D1). That one defeat came the last time they hosted Ireland in 2018.

    - Ireland have won 95 per cent of their lineouts in the Six Nations this year (19/20), which is the best rate of any team. However, England have stolen the most lineouts (5) in the Championship.

    - Maro Itoje has hit 74 rucks in the 2020 Six Nations, more than any other player, and has also won the most turnovers with six.

  • 'We don’t talk' - Ramdin lashes out at T&T Red Force coach Dillon, 'toxic environment' 'We don’t talk' - Ramdin lashes out at T&T Red Force coach Dillon, 'toxic environment'

    Former Trinidad and Tobago Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin has lashed out at what he claims is a toxic environment under coach Mervyn Dillon.

    The 32-year-old batsman was one of five players dropped from the Red Force squad, after a disastrous showing against Barbados Pride last weekend, in the West Indies Championships. Ramdin made a pair of ducks in a 299 runs loss.  The team will take on the Leeward Islands Hurricanes this weekend.

    The out of favour Windies player, however, revealed that the issues with the coach seem to spread deeper than just the one game.

    “The coach does not want me on the team. We don’t talk, probably a good morning here or there but we don’t communicate,” Ramdin said in an interview with the T&T Guardian.

    “It all started last year in St Kitts when we needed 140 runs from 15 overs and I was batting at the time. I called off the game because the next three batsmen to come after me was very young and it would have been difficult to get that score. I was told he left the ground and called the chairman of selectors (Anthony Gray) and the president of the board (Azim Bassarath) to get me fired,” he added.

    According to the player, he has officially filed a complaint with the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) but was told the situation could not be assessed immediately.

    “I have complained to the board because this can’t be good for the team. The environment there is not good at all. The players on the team are not comfortable and this cannot be good for the young cricketers on the team.”

     

     

  • Pace Electrical plugs needed spark into Jamaica's women's cricket programme Pace Electrical plugs needed spark into Jamaica's women's cricket programme

    Women’s Cricket in Jamaica got a well-needed boost on Wednesday when the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) announced a multimillion-dollar sponsorship with local firm Pace Electrical Works and Building Contractors.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.