Ireland survived a dramatic late batting collapse to secure a famous series victory against the West Indies with a two-wicket win in the third and final ODI in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Irish lost four late wickets after being 190/4 and seemingly cruising to their required target of 213. But the visitors held their nerve to complete one of the highest-profile series wins in the history of Irish cricket and collect 10 further ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League points to go to the third spot in the standings.
Earlier the West Indies had suffered a collapse of their own, losing six wickets for just 29 runs to leave their first innings in tatters after Shai Hope’s early half-century, with Andy McBrine taking 4/28.
And while Jason Holder inspired a wag from the tail to lift the West Indies to a total of 212 all out from 44.4 overs, it wasn’t a high enough target to deny Ireland, with McBrine and Harry Tector hitting fine half-centuries in what proved to be a nervy second innings.
Ten Cricket World Cup Super League points for Ireland, and a 2-1 series victory!— ICC (@ICC) January 16, 2022
They overcome a late West Indies charge to win by two wickets at Sabina Park.
📸 @cricketireland #WIvIRE pic.twitter.com/9kavuiiM0r
Ireland’s five-wicket win in the second ODI on Thursday had set up a winner-takes-all series finale. And it was the West Indies who got off to a flier in the deciding ODI at Sabina Park, as Shai Hope brought up the fastest half-century of his ODI career, reaching the landmark off just 37 balls.
But Hope’s departure in the 11th over sparked a collapse as the home side lost three wickets for four runs to heap the pressure on the middle order, with Craig Young and McBrine doing the damage with the ball.
And when McBrine struck for the third time to have captain Kieron Pollard caught in the slips for 19, it looked like the West Indies were in danger of posting an uncompetitive total.
A rear-guard effort, inspired by Holder (44), Akeal Hosein (23) and Odean Smith (20*), helped West Indies past 200. But Young returned to the attack to pick up his third wicket of the game to bring the innings to a close, finishing with figures of 3/43.
The 63 run 8th wicket stand by @Jaseholder98 & @AHosein21 have given the bowlers a target to defend #MenInMaroon #WIvIRE pic.twitter.com/O7d3b3fNHS— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) January 16, 2022
A famous series win was within reach for Ireland, but their run-chase got off to the worst possible start when William Porterfield fell to the very first ball of the innings, caught on the boundary off Alzarri Joseph.
McBrine and Paul Stirling steadied the ship, with the latter taking the attack to the West Indies and ensuring that Ireland would always be ahead of the required rate with his sparky 44 off 38 balls, featuring five fours and a six.
McBrine and Tector added a further 79 runs for the third wicket, with McBrine continuing his outstanding match contribution with a steady 59 off 100 balls before falling to Odean Smith to leave Ireland 152/3.
Harry Tector’s last 10 ODIs (updated)— Cricket Ireland (@cricketireland) January 16, 2022
▪️58 v Netherlands
▪️25 v South Africa
▪️79 v South Africa
▪️29 v South Africa
▪️50 v Zimbabwe
▪️55 v Zimbabwe
▪️13* v Zimbabwe
▪️53 v West Indies
▪️54* v West Indies
▪️52 v West Indies#GoHarry ☘️🏏 pic.twitter.com/IuzMP1u14v
The Irish seemed to be cruising to a comfortable win, but the wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, and when Tector was trapped LBW to Roston Chase for 52 – his third half-century of the series – there was a slither of hope for the West Indies that they may be able to pull off a remarkable late turnaround.
A huge heave saw Gareth Delany caught for a quick-fire ten from five, and a wonderful catch in the slips by Jason Holder accounted for George Dockrell to leave Ireland eight-down with five runs still required to win.
But Ireland’s tailenders Mark Adair and Craig Young held their nerve to get the team across the line, with Young’s delicate cut for four sealing the two-wicket win.