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Kevin O'Brien

Ireland seek middle-order stability in series decider

WI v Ire, 3rd T20I, preview

Ireland's top four showed spark in the first two Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies, but the lack of finishing touches on both occasions would worry them ahead of the decider to be played at Basseterre's Warner Park on Sunday, 19 January.

Overview

West Indies v Ireland
3rd T20I
Warner Park, Basseterre,
Sunday, 19 January; 6pm local, 10pm GMT

Ireland's thrilling four-run win in the first T20I in Grenada opened up their chances for their first bilateral series win since February 2016. While openers Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien gave the hosts a run-around with their monumental 154-run first wicket stand in the series opener, Gareth Delany stole the show in the second with a rapid 22-ball 44, that included four consecutive sixes against the wrist-spin of Hayden Walsh.

However, it's the lack of a proper finish that would bother skipper Andy Balbirnie, with his team faltering in the second half of their batting. While the last eight overs saw them manage 55 for the loss of seven wickets in Grenada, the final five in the second game yielded mere 33. That aspect would definitely need addressing, for lack of a substantial score against a power-packed West Indies line-up can hurt any team on a given day.

West Indies, on the other hand, would believe that rain deprived them of a great chance to draw level in the second game, but will take quite a few positives from the first two results. While Evin Lewis and Sheldon Cottrell seem to have carried their fine run from the ODI series to the shortest format, Kieron Pollard, the skipper showed his worth with his secondary suit, with timely four wickets. He'll expect more from his spinners though, Khary Pierre and Hayden Walsh, both of whom have been taken to the cleaners in the series so far.

Remember the last time:

Skipper Balbirnie and Gareth Delany revived Ireland after Sheldon Cottrell's opening burst, adding 72 in 7.1 overs for the second wicket. However, Kieron Pollard (4/25) dented the visitors' progress with his timely scalps. Harry Tector (31) was the lone stabilizer in the final stages of the rain-curtailed innings that eventually ended at 147/9 in 19 overs. West Indies, chasing the revised target of 152 in 19 overs lost Lendl Simmons early, before rain intervened for the third time to force the abandonment.

Β Conditions:

Light rains are expected through the day amidst sunny intervals, which might result in frequent interruptions once again as it did during the previous game. Seamers have relished bowling on this surface historically, and the performances of Sheldon Cottrell and Kieron Pollard in the second T20I promises more of the same.

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