Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Joyce led Ireland to victory with a 49-ball 40
The West Indies’ road to the World Twenty20 began on an extremely sour note as Ireland batsman Ed Joyce scored an unbeaten 40 to lead his side to a memorable six-wicket win in the inaugural Twenty20 International held at Sabina Park in Jamaica.
Joyce was well supported by Ireland’s bowling attack as they restricted the West Indies to just 116 off their 20 overs.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy would have been kicking himself for choosing to bat first as opening batsman Dwayne Smith was caught by Max Sorensen off the bowling of Tim Murtagh for 14.
Chris Gayle, who was playing in his first international match since November 2013, only made 18 runs before he was caught by George Dockrell at long-on off the bowling of Alex Cusack.
All-rounder Marlon Samuels scored 16 runs before he was stumped by Gary Wilson off the bowling of Dockrell.
Dwayne Bravo failed to have an impact either as he amassed eight runs before being caught by Kevin O’Brien off the bowling of Sorensen.
Andre Russell managed to make 15 runs before he was clean bowled by Murtagh.
Following Russell’s dismissal, the West Indies’ lower order completely collapsed and it led to them finishing on 116/8 at the end of their 20 overs.
Murtagh, Cusack and O’Brien picked up two wickets apiece, while Sorensen and Dockrell chipped in with one wicket each.
Chasing a simple target of 117 to win, Ireland got off to a poor start as captain William Porterfield was given out lbw off the bowling of Samuel Badree for four runs.
Paul Stirling failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Russell off the bowling of Ravi Rampaul.
Wilson made 18 runs before he was clean bowled by Badree.
Andrew Poynter and Joyce stabilised the innings with a vital 58-run partnership before Poynter was cleaned up by Sunil Narine for 32 off 30 balls, which included six boundaries.
Joyce and O’Brien kept the runs flowing and it wasn’t long before they got Ireland across the finish line.
Joyce finished on 40 off 49 balls, which included two boundaries, while O’Brien remained undefeated on 15 off 12 deliveries, which also included two boundaries.
Badree was the pick of the West Indian bowlers with two wickets, while Rampaul and Narine snapped up one wicket apiece.