The biggest shock of the cricket World Cup has already happened, and it’s only three days in. Ed Joyce, Paul Stirling and Niall O’Brien led the attack and were the heroes on the day as Ireland won by four wickets.
Ireland arrived in Nelson with the task of facing West Indies in their opening match, which in previous years, you would have expected to go only one way, a comfortable victory for West Indies. This wasn’t to be though and to be honest it never looked as if it would despite Darren Sammy and Lendl Simmons’ partnership of 154.
Ireland did a great deal to show why they deserve to be in the cricket World Cup after organisers wanted smaller cricketing nations such as Ireland to not be in it. Going up against a cricketing giant in the form of West Indies and beating them so emphatically was quite sensational.
A difference in quality
The score itself doesn’t show the true difference between the two sides on the day as Ireland reached their total with 25 balls remaining which is quite impressive and shows how well Ireland played. They never let the asking rate go past 6.64 demonstrating their control over their opposition.
An impressive innings from Stirling and Joyce saw them combine to form a partnership of 106 followed by a partnership of 96 from Joyce and O’Brien. Some good scoring Ireland’s top order lead the chase, but it was Ireland’s bowling that limited the West Indies attack.
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In fact their top five batsmen only managed to score 76 between them, pretty abysmal really. The fact that former West Indies ODI captain Sammy hit the highest score by a number seven in a World Cup, 89 off 67, and that the 218 that the lower half of their batting order added was the second highest in ODI history means nothing as Ireland’s bowlers had done the damage early on limiting the top order to so few runs with George Dockrell taking three wickets for the Irish.
It was a good weekend for Irish sport as there was also an impressive Six Nations win over a tough French side in Dublin. It just shows how well Irish sport is doing, with their football side overachieving to be honest as well. Their cricket side is now coming to the fore and impressing on the international stage and really staking a claim as one of the best non-test playing international sides.
A well-deserved nine-day rest is in store for Ireland now before they face United Arab Emirates in Brisbane.