West Indies XI recovered from an indifferent start to complete a comfortable 31-run victory over Ireland in the first Twenty20 match between the two sides, as part of the Jamaica Cricket Festival at the Trelawny Stadium on Sunday.
Andre Fletcher, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan fell by the wayside to leave the regional side stuttering at 10 for 3, before Narsingh Deonarine put his head down and sparked a recovery. He topscored with 40 off 32 balls, while Darren Sammy and Wavell Hinds contributed 20s to lift their side, as 80 runs were plundered off the last six overs.
Trent Johnston was the chief wicket-taker for the Irish, with figures of 2 for 19 off his four overs while Paul Stirling snared 1 for 13.
Chasing 144 for victory, the Irish had no answers to Sulieman Benn's slow left-armers, and were soon reduced to 9 for 3. The bowling heroes, Stirling and Johnston, starred with the bat as well, to lift the visitors past three figures, but they were never in the hunt. Benn, Sammy and Ravi Rampaul all picked two wickets as Ireland finished with 112 for 7.
West Indies coach, Otis Gibson, was pleased with his team's efforts and reserved special praise for Deonarine. "This was obviously a better performance from the guys, we applied ourselves much better this time around even though we didn't have a very good start," said Gibson. "We did very well to get to 140 and that is always going to be a difficult target in this format of the game. I'm very happy with what we have seen from Deonarine, he is doing very well both with bat and ball."
Ireland coach, Phil Simmons, blamed his team's poor batting for the defeat but was encouraged by their efforts in the field. "We didn't bat well enough and that was the main issue. We had them at 40 for 4 or something like that before we allowed it to slip but overall we did well in the field. We should have got closer to their score so it's a case where we have to do some work on our batting," said Simmons.
The two sides play a one-day game on April 15, followed by two more Twenty20 fixtures.