Sunil Ambris Is 126-ball 148 headlined West Indies Is five-wicket victory against Ireland in the Dublin ODI, on Saturday (May 11), with the tourists hunting down the target of 328 in 47.5 overs. Having lost two of their three matches so far, with one game abandoned, Ireland are out of contention to qualify for the final.
While chasing a target in excess of 300, the pair of Shai Hope and Ambris provided West Indies with the much-needed impetus with an opening stand of 84. The highlight of the stand was the way Hope stood up tall to crack the punch off Joshua Little. On the other hand, Ireland’s pacers didn’t help their cause by bowling on the pads of the duo.
Boyd Rankin, the experienced seamer, broke the threatening stand by removing Hope. To make matters worse for the West Indies, Darren Bravo mistimed one to long on as the visitors lost their second wicket. Despite losing batting partners at the other end, Ambris continued to play with freedom, collecting boundaries off Tim Murtagh and Mark Adair.
Roston Chase also joined in the act with a string of boundaries. With the duo adding more than a hundred runs for the third wicket, West Indies were well and truly in the ascendancy. At that stage, Rankin provided a window of opportunity for Ireland by prising out Ambris with a delivery that climbed awkwardly. However, Jason Holder (36 off 24) and Jonathan Carter (43* off 27) survived a few jitters to take the side close to the finishing line. With just one required for a victory, Rankin took his third scalp by sending Holder back to the hut before Carter duly provided the finishing touches with a four off the next ball.
Earlier, Andrew Balbirnie compiled his fourth ODI ton (135) while Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien cracked the fifties to power Ireland’s innings. After Ireland opted to bat, the hosts lost James McCollum for just five. However, Stirling and Balbirnie set the foundation for a healthy score with a stand of 146 for the second wicket. Balbirnie, who is known for playing horizontal-bat shots, crunched a slew of pull strokes off Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Sheldon Cottrell. It was a curious tactic from the West Indies fast bowlers to bang it in short to a batsman who thrives on playing the cut and pull.
Stirling, meanwhile, took a heavy toll off Ashley Nurse and Roston Chase as he and Balbirnie looked to up the ante. With the tourists desperately looking for a wicket, Gabriel bowled with a good burst of pace to dislodge both Stirling and William Porterfield. O’Brien, who replaced Porterfield in the middle, was off the blocks quickly with a couple of fours off Roach. On the other hand, Balbirnie reached his three-figure mark with a nurdle off Jason Holder.
Once Balbirnie fell to Carter’s medium pace, O’Brien took over by tonking Holder for three sixes in a row. Mark Adair, the promising seam-bowling all-rounder, also played his part with a couple of fours and a six in the last two overs. For the Caribbean side, Gabriel was impressive and ended up with two scalps.
The hosts will play their last game of the tournament against Bangladesh on May 15 in Dublin, while West Indies will take on the Asian team in two more matches, including the final.
Brief scores: Ireland327/5 in 50 overs (Andrew Balbirnie 135, Paul Stirling 77; Shannon Gabriel 2-47) lost to West Indies 331/5in 47.5 overs (Sunil Ambris 148, Roston Chase 46; Boyd Rankin 3-65) by 5 wickets.