All-round Sammy steers West Indies home
West Indies 138 for 9 (Sammy 30, Dockrell 3-16) beat Ireland 68 (Sammy 3-8, Rampaul 3-17) by 70 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Darren Sammy shone in every way to ensure West Indies overcame the absence of Chris Gayle and a stuttering batting display as they overpowered Ireland. Sammy collected 30 runs, three breakthroughs and a record four catches during the 70-run success. Ravi Rampaul's three-wicket opening burst was also crucial in Ireland being knocked over for 68, the second-lowest total in Twenty20s.
The captain Gayle didn't play due to a problem with his glutes, leaving Dwayne Bravo in charge, and there were thoughts of an upset when West Indies scrapped to 138 for 9 on a sluggish surface. There was a party atmosphere in the stands of the Providence stadium, but life was much more serious on the ground for the home batsmen, particularly when the 17-year-old George Dockrell was operating.
All the worries over the size of the total evaporated as soon as Kemar Roach struck with his second ball and Ireland, an Associate country, could not recover after losing their top three for 11 in 11 balls. William Porterfield (4) edged Roach to Sammy, who dived to his right at second slip for a sharp take, and his team-mates also struggled with the extra pace.
Sammy got his second catch in the next over when Paul Stirling skewed to midwicket and Rampaul (3 for 17) struck again almost immediately to remove Niall O'Brien caught behind. Ireland were 13 for 3 when some relief arrived in the form of rain, but there was no reprieve after the half-hour delay.
Alex Cusack (2) went shortly after the resumption when taken at second slip by Sammy, who seemed to be everywhere, and Rampaul had his third. Sammy then chipped in with the ball, taking care of Kevin O'Brien, as the visitors crawled to 39 for 5. While standing at cover Sammy collected his fourth catch when leaping high to collect the push of Gary Wilson, who top scored with 17. Sammy picked up Boyd Rankin and finished the match to gain 3 for 8 and start the local celebrations.
At the halfway stage it was the visitors who were on a high following the impressive effort of Dockrell, the seemingly nerveless left-arm orthodox. The youngest player in the tournament showed how much of an impact accurate spin has in these conditions and finished with a highly impressive 3 for 16 off four overs.
West Indies needed a late thrust from Sammy to take them to the highest total in the four innings at the venue on Friday. Sammy powered a straight six that broke a window and collected another in the same Trent Johnston over in a vital 17-ball display.
Andre Fletcher, who replaced Gayle, struggled to find the boundary during his 19 off 22 and left to Dockrell after failing to clear long-on with a one-handed drive. Two balls later Ramnaresh Sarwan (24) tried to strike over long-off but was taken by Wilson and the hosts were wobbling at 77 for 4.
After Rankin (2 for 35) followed up by having Denesh Ramdin (1) caught behind, Dockrell completed his collection thanks to Narsingh Deonarine's miscued slog sweep. Kieron Pollard entered at 93 for 6 and managed 8 before he was caught-and-bowled by Andre Botha when trying to pull. Throughout the innings the hosts made useful starts before being undone by a mixture of the surface and Ireland's enthusiasm.
The opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul (14) top-edged to Wilson at point and Bravo entered for a bright cameo of 18 off 10 including two sixes. He departed to a strong straight drive hit back to the bowler Cusack (2 for 19), which struck his leg, bobbled around his midriff and was eventually captured resting on his chest. Ireland's energy ran out in the second innings and they will have to beat England on Tuesday to have a chance of staying in the tournament.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo