Russell fires with bat and ball to take West Indies A to victory
West Indies A 251 (Russell 64, Eaglestone 3-48) beat Ireland (White 75, Russell 6-42) 201 by 50 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A sterling allround performance by Andre Russell helped West Indies A recover from a treacherous start batting first to deliver a comfortable win against Ireland in Belfast.
When Devon Smith opted to make first use of the Civil Service Cricket Club pitch, he would not have expected to be reduced to 28 for 4 by the 12th over. But a hard-working middle-order stand between Assad Fudadin and Kevin Stoute changed West Indies A's fortunes before Russell's scintillating half-century set up a match-winning total. Russell struck four sixes and six fours to finish on 64 from just 31 balls and take the tourists to 251. It was then left to the bowlers to complete the good work against a shell-shocked Ireland team.
In a flash Russell and Gavin Tounge combined to remove openers Gary Wilson and Paul Stirling before adding Rory McCann soon after. David Bernard then saw the back of Kevin O'Brien thanks to a flying catch from Smith, diving to his right. It left Ireland wobbling at 46 for 4 and it was only Andrew White who kept fighting. He was joined by Alex Cusack and the pair added 72 in almost 15 overs to revive Ireland's hopes. Cusack's share of the stand was only 15 as White kept going on an ultimately futile mission.
He passed his fifty in style, pulling Frudadin for four through square leg but Cusack's dismissal eventually ushered in the final rites. It was, of course, Russell who made the breakthrough, trapping Cussack in front. John Mooney then fell in similar fashion to Anthony Martin before Russell castled White to end an excellent knock. Russell cleaned up the lower order to finish with 6 for 42 as the tourists finished Ireland off for 201.
It could have all been so different for Ireland if not for the 94-run stand for the fifth wicket between Fudadin and Stoute. Beginning slowly they were content to build the partnership by working the ball around and picking off the occasional boundary when available. Stoute was the more positive of the two, and collected the first six of the day when he deposited Albert van der Merwe over the long on boundary. He followed it up two overs later with another handsome drive down the ground and a four three balls later to bring up a crucial fifty off 56-deliveries.
Eagleton returned to the attack and struck immediately when Stoute spooned a catch to mid on off to end a match-reviving stand. There was then another minor wobble when Chadwick Walton and David Bernard fell in quick succession but Frudadin stayed strong, anchoring one end while Russell went ballistic at the other.
After a careful first 12 balls Russell launched Jones for a six and a four down the ground before repeating the dose to van der Merwe. Somewhere in the carnage Frudadin reached a patient half-century before being run out. In total his innings lasted 101 deliveries - hardly the 'power hitting' of contemporary limited-overs cricket but a crucial innings for his side.
In the last five overs West Indies A made 63 runs, with Russell banging four fours and two sixes and Gavin Tonge belting four boundaries of his own as the pair added 42 in 27 balls. It was an assault from which Ireland never could recover.