After being annihilated in the ODI series, Ireland scripted a comeback in the first T20I of the Ireland tour of the West Indies 2019/20. Ireland opener Paul Stirling made his highest T20I score and helped the Irish make 208 after batting first. This total helped them clinch a close 4-run victory over West Indies, who are the defending T20 world champions.
After Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie won the toss and chose to bat first, everything went his team's way. Openers Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien stitched together a quickfire partnership worth 154 runs. This partnership was the highest partnership for any wicket by the Irish team. 93 of these runs came in the first six overs as the Irish batting pair set a new record for the highest number of runs ever scored in a T20 International powerplay.
Paul Stirling reached his fifty in a mere 20 balls and was inching towards his century when his blitz was put to an end by a Hayden Walsh delivery. The 29-year-old made 95 off 47 deliveries with eight huge sixes. Stirling and O'Brien's partnership at the top helped Ireland get to 208. Among the few positives for the WI bowling, a freshly out-of-retirement Dwayne Bravo shined as he managed to get two wickets at an impressive economy of 7.00.
👏👏👏 Evin Lewis fifty. pic.twitter.com/YNHtStbY4n— Cricket Ireland (@Irelandcricket) January 15, 2020
As the Windies came out to chase 209, their chances were fortified by Evin Lewis at the top, who scored 53. Other batsmen were making decent contributions too but Ireland kept striking with wickets in crunch moments of the game. The equation eventually came down to 16 runs off 12 balls but a Nicholas Pooran wicket brought Ireland right back into the game. DJ Bravo, in his moment to shine, was batting in the last over when he smashed a six and brought alive the hopes of the Windies again. Ireland's Joshua Little, however, had the last laugh as he got the wickets of both, Sherfane Rutherford and Bravo, in the last over to make sure that his nation secures an iconic victory and goes 1-0 up in the series. The two teams will now play at St Kitts on January 18.
We’re all proud of the squad. 😃👍 https://t.co/4jAknJQhhr— Cricket Ireland (@Irelandcricket) January 15, 2020