Ireland created history by defeating West Indies in their opening match of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. This is the first time the Irish have defeated the two-time World Champions. Sandipan Banerjee looks back at the major highlights of this historic game.
1. Opening spell by Ireland bowlers: Ireland skipper William Porterfield won an important toss and decided to field first. A quick-fire start by the dangerous West Indian opening pair of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith might have put the inexperienced Irish bowling under pressure, but Ireland’s new ball pair of John Mooney and Max Sorensen gave nothing away to either Gayle or Smith. That spell pushed West Indies back and they did not get any momentum at the start of the innings.
2. George Dockrell’s tight spell: George Dockrell’s match-changing spell of three for 50 in his quota of 10 overs was the difference between two teams. He was clearly the best bowler on show in this game. He got the important wickets of Gayle, Marlon Samuels, and Denesh Ramdin.
3. The Lendl Simmons-Darren Sammy partnership: At 87 for five West Indies were looking down the barrel and it seemed even 200 would be impossible. But a counter-attacking 154-run partnership between Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy revived the Windies and helped them to get past the 300-run mark. Sammy scored 89 and Simmons got his ton in the process.
4. Ireland’s attacking start: Chasing anything beyond 300 in a One-Day International (ODI) against a good attack is a matter of psychological pressure. But the Irish opening pair, especially Man of the match Paul Striling (92) took the match away from the West Indians. Stirling and William Porterfield played their shots and put the Windies bowlers under pressure, from where they never recovered.
5. Ed Joyce and Nail O’Brien go ballistic: Apart from Striling, Ed Joyce (82) and Niall O’Brian’s (79*) knocks were also crucial. Joyce was the man who took care of the innings in the middle overs. On the other hand O’Brien, who also played a match winning knock against Pakistan in 2007 World Cup, remained unbeaten till the end and finished the game for Ireland once again.
6. A wobble at the end, but Ireland reached home: After doing most things right, the Irish boys nearly messed it up. They suddenly stumbled from 273 for two to 291 for six. But it was too late for West Indies to make a comeback into the game.