Sammy helps West Indies save face
West Indies 96 for 9 (Cusack 4-11) beat Ireland 85 for 8 (Wilson 35, Sammy 3-22) by 11 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
West Indies were far from unfortunate in defeat two days ago but for the first half of this match it looked as if they could be accused of carelessness. Ireland had squeezed West Indies until the pips squeaked and seemingly done the hard work in attempting to secure a first bilateral series win against a Full Member. But the reigning World Twenty20 champions scrapped hard for their dignity and a narrow 11-run win.
Darren Sammy, so often the example for his team in effort and demeanor, claimed three wickets, as Ireland subsided meekly chasing less than 100 on a surface that again proved difficult for batting. Only Ed Joyce and Gary Wilson managed to get into double figures, as some variable bounce made the task increasingly tricky, meaning that the T20 series was shared 1-1. Ireland, however, will have one more chance to topple their hosts in the sole ODI on Sunday.
Krishmar Santokie, the T20 specialist making only his third international appearance, claimed a wicket in his second over on the way to figures of 1 for 12, while Sunil Narine was equally unhittable whilst picking up the key wicket of Joyce, playing his 100th match for Ireland.
West Indies raised their intensity in the field after another insipid batting display and managed to claw the game back, as Ireland limped to 29 for 5 at just past halfway. When Wilson was caught on the edge of the square in the 18th over by Dwayne Bravo, off his own bowling, he celebrated with a modest jig, confident that some Caribbean credibility was about to be salvaged - if not totally restored.
It meant Alex Cusack's display with the ball did not get the reward it deserved. West Indies had struggled against a parsimonious bowling attack in the first T20 but they had not learned from their mistakes, this time failing to reach three figures. They only managed six boundaries - four fours and two sixes - in the innings, and again no batsman reached 20. Their total of 96 for 9 was their second lowest in completed innings, since making 79 for 7 against Zimbabwe in 2010.
It could have been worse, as at least two straightforward catches were put down, but Ireland were otherwise impressive in the field. William Porterfield twice effected run-outs, firstly picking up at cover and swiveling to catch Bravo out of his ground, then swooping to defeat his opposite number, Sammy, from point, the position where he also took an excellent low catch to remove Dwayne Smith.
The wicket of Andre Russell, who had been flailing at the crease like an overstimulated airport runway marshal, highlighted Ireland's degree of savvy. Porterfield put a second man out on the leg side, setting the trap for another hook, before Tim Murtagh fired in a yorker that removed leg stump. It was a simple bluff but suggested West Indies were still off the pace.
They had begun their innings competently enough, despite the blow of Chris Gayle being ruled out with a minor niggle. His replacement, Andre Fletcher, twice deposited the ball into the stands but he was the last batsmen to do so. Fletcher edged Cusack's first ball behind, during a wicket maiden, and the sight of West Indies batsmen trudging off shaking their heads became a regular one.
Porterfield shuffled his attack well and his bowlers responded, with Cusack - particularly impressive in recording his best T20 figures - George Dockrell and Kevin O'Brien all conceding less than five an over. Eighteen months ago, West Indies stormed to victory at the World T20, with Marlon Samuels lashing 78 to set up victory in a low-scoring final. Here he could only follow up a princely cover drive for four with an ungainly swipe to be caught behind for 10 off 16 balls.
Unlike in Colombo, there was no "Gangnam Style" in victory, just relief at West Indies' first in six matches. Time is running out for them to re-learn the moves ahead of their World T20 defence.