West Indies v Ireland, 2nd T20, Kingston February 20, 2014

West Indies search for missing spark

Match facts

February 21, 2014
Start time 2pm local (1900 GMT)

Big Picture

Ireland certainly enjoy their trips to Sabina Park. The "Boys in Green" strolled to victory in the first T20 against a lacklustre West Indies, adding to their list of Full Member scalps. This was different to the breakthrough win over Pakistan on the same ground at the 2007 World Cup, however - Ireland have established their credentials, they merely want the chance to demonstrate them on a more regular basis.

For West Indies, it was their fifth T20 defeat in a row; hardly the sort of form you want to be taking into a tournament as defending champions. Their World Twenty20 campaign begins in just over a month and Ottis Gibson will need to crank up the intensity for the second Ireland match, ahead of three more T20s against England next month.

Since struggling in their opening two Regional Super50 fixtures, Ireland have grown more accustomed to Caribbean climes. George Dockrell and Alex Cusack were impressive with the ball, while Andrew Poynter showed form with the bat. Ed Joyce was fresh to the touring party but immediately found his groove. By contrast, several of West Indies' big names looked decidedly rusty - Darren Sammy, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels all missed the domestic 50-over competition with injuries, and it showed.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies LLLLL
Ireland WWWLL

Watch out for

Dwayne Smith is one of the few West Indies players demonstrably in form, having passed 50 three times in four matches - including 83 in the final - as Barbados won the Regional Super50. Smith is one of the slightly less deluxe T20 guns-for-hire going around but tends to give sides plenty of bang for their buck; West Indies could do with more from him than two fifties in 18 innings.

As Ireland adapt to life after Trent Johnston, Alex Cusack may be able to shoulder some of the extra burden. His four overs of niggardly medium pace cost just 17 runs and accounted for Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons - enough to earn praise from Ireland's coach, Phil Simmons. It may be unglamorous but, on slow pitches such as those that will be found in Bangladesh, Cusack's role will be important.

Teams news

Five West Indies batsmen made double figures only to fall before reaching 20 in the first match but most will get another shot, as there is only Andre Fletcher to call on. Left-armer Krishmar Santokie could come in to provide variety in the bowling attack - though having not played since the Caribbean Premier League in August, he would increase the lacking-match-practice quotient.

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

Poynter was preferred to the more experienced Niall O'Brien on Wednesday and should keep his place after contributing the second-highest score. Tim Murtagh was expensive, despite claiming two wickets, with Craig Young providing another seam-bowling option within the squad.

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

Pitch and conditions

The pitch was quite slow for the first T20, which suited Ireland's attack. There is a threat of rain in the afternoon again.

Stats and trivia

  • Ireland are only 10 points behind eighth-placed England in the ICC T20 rankings. West Indies have slipped to sixth.
  • Avoiding defeat would give Ireland their first win in a bilateral series against a Full Member.
  • West Indies' 116 for 8 was their fourth-lowest total in T20 internationals where they have batted 20 overs.
  • Ed Joyce will play his 100th match for Ireland on Friday.

Quotes

"We never took them for granted. We weren't complacent. They bowled well against us and we just didn't handle it as we should have."
West Indies captain Darren Sammy admitted his side were outplayed in the first match

"It would be lovely to win 2-0, especially as we're probably a slightly better 50-over side than a 20-over side."
Ed Joyce confirms Ireland will be going for the kill

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

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