August 5, 2021

Cricket World Cup: Irish eyes smiling as West Indies suffer shock defeat

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Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.00.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.00.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.00.47 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.01.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 12.59.10 PMWest Indies 304/7 (50) Ireland 307/6 (45.5) Ireland won by 4 wickets

From CNN

Ed Joyce, who formerly played for England, produced the most captivating innings as a host of Irish batsmen made their mark on the game.

West Indies had posted a total of 304 runs thanks to a century by Lendl Simmons, nephew of the Ireland cricket coach Phil.

Ireland pull-off a memorable four-victory against West Indies in their World Cup opener

The Irish have a history of shock results in their brief history in the tournament

West Indies, meanwhile, are a series in disarray after a series of rows

The luck of the Irish had nothing to do with it.

Ireland continued their trademark giant killing with the first shock of this cricket World Cup by defeating West Indies by four wickets.

It’s a mere eight years since Ireland made its tournament debut. Back in 2007, they tied with Zimbabwe and picked up victories over Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Four years on, there was a famous victory over England and once more they have picked up the scalp of one of the Test-playing nations.

While Ireland are on a crest of a wave, the Windies are seemingly a team in disarray.

The once dominant force of global cricket — West Indies won two World Cups in the 1970s with a mixture of fearsome pace bowling and swashbuckling batting — the current crop of players looked disenchanted on the field throughout the match.

A pay dispute between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board led to their tour of India being abandoned last October and there have reportedly been further rows over the omissions of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from their World Cup squad.

The Caribbean team’s stock has fallen so far that they are now ranked a lowly eighth in the one-day international standings.

Ireland captain William Porterfield was adamant in the build-up to the game that confidence was high in the camp.

“I don’t think it’ll be a surprise if we win,” he said. “I think we’re preparing for every game and going out there to win that game, and I don’t think it’ll be a surprise to anyone if we go out there and win games.”

And it was a sentiment backed in the aftermath of another major scalp, Porterfield merely adding: “I don’t see it as an upset.”

But it was the manner of the victory that was impressive. Ireland were set a target of 305 to win the game, with just four successful run chances above 300 having ever been achieved in World Cup history.
Now that figure is five and Ireland are responsible for three of them.

Former England player Ed Joyce was the most eye-catching of the Irish batsmen with a blistering knock of the 84 runs from 67 balls, while Paul Stirling top scored 92 and Niall O’Brien finished the innings unbeaten on 79.

It was left to John Mooney, as he had done famously against England four years ago, to hit the winning runs and spark the Irish celebrations in Nelson, New Zealand.

Rubbing salt into the Windies wounds was this was a victory masterminded by a former West Indies international Phil Simmons, Ireland’s cricket coach whose nephew Lendl top scored for the Caribbean side with a century.

Simmons’ Ireland side, though, are not one of the world’s Test playing nations, considered to be in the second tier of global cricket at the head of the Associates.

But the pre-tournament form of both sides had suggested an upset could be on the cards.

West Indies had lost their last one-day international series against South Africa 4-1 and managed a meager 122 runs in their World Cup warm-up match against England. In addition, they had lost a T20 game to Ireland in Jamaica just last year.

When Ireland broke the mold at the 2007 World Cup, a documentary called The Breaking Boundaries followed while their 2011 England win led the Prime Minister elect Enda Kenny to contact the team.

She said: “Their supreme effort will lift the spirits of every single Irish person, no matter where they are in the world. Ireland’s performance is truly inspiring, demonstrating that, with self-belief, the apparently impossible can be made possible, and that real change can occur.”

Quite what lies in store this time should they continue their giant killing remains to be seen.

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