Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Paul Stirling smashed a career-best 95 to lead Ireland to a thrilling four-run win over the West Indies in the first Twenty20 International in Grenada.
Choosing to bat first, Ireland got off to a sensational start as Stirling and Kevin O’Brien amassed a 154-run partnership, during which Stirling raced past his fifty, before O’Brien was clean bowled for 48 by Dwayne Bravo, who was returning after coming out of retirement.
Stirling went on to score a 47-ball 95, which included six boundaries and eight sixes, before he was caught by Evin Lewis at deep midwicket off the bowling of Hayden Walsh.
Once Stirling was gone, Ireland began losing wickets at regular intervals and ended up finishing on 208/7.
Bravo, Khary Pierre and Sheldon Cottrell picked up two wickets apiece, while Walsh chipped in with one.
Chasing 209 to win, the West Indies got off to a flyer before opening batsman Lendl Simmons was dismissed by Josh Little for 22.
Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer made up for the loss of Simmons with a 56-run partnership before Lewis was removed by Craig Young for a 29-ball 53, which included six boundaries and three sixes.
Hetmyer went on to score 28 before he was sent packing by George Dockrell.
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard mustered 31 runs before he was caught by Dockrell at long-on off the bowling of Simi Singh, while Nicholas Pooran fell soon after for 26.
With Little taking out Sherfane Rutherford for 26 and Bravo for nine runs, the West Indies fell agonisingly short of their target as they finished on 204/7.
Little was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Young took two, and Singh and Dockrell claimed one wicket each.
Stirling was named Man of the Match.