West Indies v Ireland, 1st T20, Kingston February 18, 2014

Ireland seek another big scalp


Match facts

February 19, 2014
Start time 2pm local (1900 GMT)

Big Picture

West Indies have previously proved themselves to be friends of Irish cricket and the invitation to play two T20s and an ODI a few weeks before the World Twenty20 is a significant one. Ireland need increased exposure against Full Member opposition if they are to fulfil their ambitions for developing the game and this tour is something of a step up from previous trips to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

There is poignancy attached to the venue for the three matches, too, as it was in Jamaica, at Sabina Park, that Ireland first shook the established order, when they beat Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup. Even if they don't manage a repeat, the sense is that Ireland are increasingly pushing at the boundaries and could become the 11th Test nation before their 2020 deadline.

Ireland struggled while taking part in the Regional Super50, twice losing heavily before winning a dead rubber, but the games will have been a useful workout after several weeks of inactivity. West Indies, apparently aware to the dangers posed by the premier Associate, have picked a full-strength squad and welcome back Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy, among others, ahead of the visit of England. They may have extended a helping hand to Ireland but the reigning World T20 champions will not be giving out charity.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies LLLLW
Ireland WWLLL

Watch out for

Chris Gayle has not played any senior cricket since injuring a hamstring on West Indies' tour of India and he describes himself as "99% fit". Ahead of the World Twenty20, in which he will be a vital component of West Indies' defence, and the new IPL season, Gayle may perhaps not quite be in top gear - but 99% will sound ominous enough to Ireland.

Although only 21, George Dockrell has been one of Ireland's key players for a few years. The tall left-arm spinner will have a huge role to play in Bangladesh, where Ireland will aim to qualify for the main group stage at the expense of Zimbabwe, and he found some form in the third of Ireland's Regional Super50 games, taking 3 for 14 from seven overs.

Teams news

Sammy returns to captain West Indies having missed the two defeats in New Zealand, while Gayle has said he expects to open with Dwayne Smith, back in the T20 side after more than a year. Krishmar Santokie, with his unorthodox left-arm action, could win only his third cap, having impressed in last year's Caribbean Premier League, while Ravi Rampaul is also in contention to replace the discarded Tino Best.

West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Dwayne Smith, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Andre Fletcher 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Darren Sammy (capt) 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Samuel Badree

Ireland have entered a new era, without the retired Trent Johnston, and they are still working out how to balance their side - a situation not helped by the absence of experienced allrounder John Mooney, who left the tour due to a stress-related illness. There will be a new face or two in the XI, with Andy McBrine, Stuart Thompson, James Shannon and Craig Young - all 23 or younger - competing to make an impression ahead of the World T20.

Ireland (possible) 1 William Porterfield (capt), 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Ed Joyce, 4 Kevin O'Brien, 5 Gary Wilson (wk), 6 Niall O'Brien, 7 Alex Cusack, 8 Max Sorensen, 9 George Dockrell, 10 Tim Murtagh, 11 Craig Young

Pitch and conditions

Sabina Park will conjure up mental images of pace and bounce but it is unlikely to be quite so intimidating, not least because of the surfeit of medium pace and spin likely to be on show. Sri Lanka racked up 348 for 1 in an ODI in Kingston last year, though the threat of rain could make batting more difficult on this occasion.

Stats and trivia

  • This match will be the first T20 international held at Sabina Park.
  • In six international encounters, West Indies have beaten Ireland four times, with two no-results.
  • The teams have met at each of the last two World Twenty20 tournaments.


"We can't take them for granted. When you play against teams you're expected to beat, you get complacent but we just need to bat, bowl and field well and give a clinical performance."
Darren Sammy says that mistaking the Ireland team for minnows could backfire against them.

"If there's one regret, it's that we haven't recorded even more wins against Full Members ... That's something we're keen to rectify, hopefully starting this week."
Ireland's captain William Porterfield invokes the memory of beating Pakistan seven years ago

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rhonda on February 20, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    @ CodandChips, sorry but unless I missed something, everyone played the same format in the World Cup. Because West Indies won the matches that mattered, they are somehow worse that the teams that couldn't manage it? I think you've got a bit of a bias there, and it's really showing.

    Congrats to Ireland on the deserved win. They are usually a good luck charm for us. When we lost to them before a tournament on two other occasions, we won the trophy. That might not be the case here--I see some serious problems with team selection--but at least we will be cured of any complacency we might have had, and give the team a workout against some sort of opposition before we have to defend the title with a bunch of just healed players. May both teams find their form and good luck to all in the upcoming World Cup.

  • Darwin on February 19, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    A NZ cricket fan here, just checked into CricInfo and followed this match! Wow! Congratulations to Ireland! With no disrespect to the West Indies, it is always satisfying to see an Associate "underdog" give the established teams a real go. After all, we are usually underdogs ourselves when we are playing. I guess the World Cup victory against Pakistan is still Ireland's best result, and I saw that they tied with Pakistan again last year. But this is a win against West Indies (T20I champions) in West Indies, with a team featuring Chris Gayle (arguably the world's best T20 batsman) and players like Samuels, Bravo, Narine, Rampaul. This was clearly an experienced West Indies side. Let's hope for further improvements from the Irish, and they can become an 11th Test Nation at some point in the near future.

  • reuel on February 19, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    The WI squad for this series is very puzzling to say the least. I can't believe that Christopher Barnwell was not selected. Furthermore, I can't believe that Santokie didn't get a chance to play toady. I don't know what else this guy has to do to get a good run. Regardless if WI defend the 116 runs they just made today, their batting performance and shot selection were dismal to say the least. They need at least two good batsmen to hold the innings together and Sarwan should be one of those choices. Why play a team full of so called "big hitters" when they can't even score at a run a ball agains a team like "Ireland" and then ridicule Sars and Chanderpaul for scoring slowly. This is just madness on the selectors part. These two guys should be in the ODI team no questions asked! As for Chanderpaul, he just get better with age as does Misab of Pakistan. Pakistan values Misiba's talent and experience just as South Africa does with Kallis ahead of next world cup.

  • Paulo on February 19, 2014, 20:53 GMT

    @rsgarcia world champions yes but they won hardly any matches that tournament

    @Mejimura fair enough. But it's like applauding someone who gives a Lenny to a beggar that many have walked past.

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2014, 20:36 GMT

    i said it already, gayle ,samuels and sammy should not be here.they did not play for a while,maybe the west indies selectors can call on sobers and lloyd.they are incapable to put together a good side. they with sammy as captain must go. remember new zeelznd,we forget too quickly.

  • Dummy4 on February 19, 2014, 18:54 GMT

    To be honest I can't see Ireland doing well here, just a gut feeling but I reckon WI will be far too strong. Hope Ireland do well all the same, it'll be good for them with the WC coming up, no matter the results.

  • Ian on February 19, 2014, 18:26 GMT

    Good luck to Ireland-would be great to see the right result!

    That said, it would be even better if Porterfield could justify his contract at Warwickshire this year-as a Bears & Ireland fan, I have "divided" loyalties, but his consistently dreadful county form makes me wonder what the Bears get out of the deal....

  • Rhonda on February 19, 2014, 18:15 GMT

    @CodandChips oh yes, overrated and there for the taking. Who are the champions in this format again, remind me? How you can 'overrate' the World Champions is beyond me. Especially since they haven't played and lost that many T20s since winning the trophy.

    And you know what? It's not like people are lining up to play Ireland. So you can be dismissive about our friendly arrangement with an up and coming exciting team if you want. And I will remind you that the reason they only had 3 domestic games is because they weren't good enough to win against our regional teams and advance in the competition. So maybe you're focused on the wrong overrated team?

  • Rhonda on February 19, 2014, 18:10 GMT

    @wirus, it's not that I don't believe Ireland could win. This is T20--any team can win on any given day. It's winning consistently that's difficult. But your analysis ignores certain facts. We have played very few T20s or T20 series since the World Cup, so dropping from 2nd to 5th really isn't that much of a slide when other countries have been playing regularly. We only lost one T20 series to New Zealand in the past year. Further more, the teams that went to India and New Zealand were hit heavily by injury, and half the senior players left during India--the other half left during New Zealand. Our full strength team did not tour either country, so calling it the 'same' team that Ireland will face is nonsense. I agree with you on Fletcher, but I think you and several other posters need to remember one thing. We are the champions until someone else takes the trophy. Whoever that is, it won't be Ireland. So some respect is in order. All this talk of being vulnerable is wishful thinking.

  • Shoaib on February 19, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    It will be good for Cricket if Ireland win any game on this tour. We need more teams amongst the high ranks.

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