Ireland dump Windies from T20 World Cup, reach Super 12’s

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Paul Stirling shattered a glorious half-century as Ireland eliminated the two-time West Indies champions from the T20 World Cup and advanced to the Super 12 stage with a nine-wicket batting on Friday in Hobart.

The stocky redhead’s unbeaten 66 of 48 balls helped Ireland spare a modest total of 146 for five of 15 balls on a cloudy afternoon at the Bellerive Oval.

Brandon King scored an unbeaten 62 for the West Indies but had little support as the Caribbean celebrated their earliest exit from the global showpiece since the inaugural 2007 tournament in South Africa.

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“It’s tough. We didn’t hit well at all in this tournament and on a really good face it was really difficult to get here to hit 145,” said West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran.

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“Congratulations to Ireland. I think they hit fantastic and bowled well today.”

Irish all-rounder Gareth Delany sucked the wind out of the West Indies batsmen and his legspin took them 3-16 in the later middle overs.

“It’s obviously an incredible day for us,” said Delany, who was named man of the match.

“We’re excited about what we can do over the next few weeks.”

The West Indies knew their total was underperforming but were unable to defend as Stirling and captain Andy Balbirnie rushed to an opening 73-run partnership before Balbirnie was caught making the cut for 37.

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Lorcan Tucker, number three, joined Stirling in the middle and hit an unbeaten 45 as the Irish drove to victory in Group B qualifier.

Tucker brought up the winning runs in style and danced down the wicket to smash Obed McCoy via extra cover for four, drawing wild cheers from some Irish fans.

Although Ireland have been a fixture at World Cups for the last decade, it is only the second time Ireland have reached the second round of the T20 tournament since the last time in England in 2009.

After losing their opening game to Zimbabwe, Ireland put in a brilliant comeback against Scotland on Wednesday, shooting virtually clean against the 2012 and 2016 champions of the West Indies.

“That means everything. We had a really disappointing defeat at the same time last year,” said captain Balbirnie of the 2021 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

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“We’ve been thinking a lot, a lot of things have changed at home.

“Losing the first game (here) and then coming back and beating a two-time champion in a must-win game – just couldn’t be prouder.

“We’re just thrilled as a group.”

Scotland and Zimbabwe face off in the late match in Hobart, with the winners playing alongside Ireland in the Super 12.

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reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Edited by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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