Belfast Telegraph

Windies ease to Stormont win

By Ian Callender

Ireland's lack of a big-hitter down the order again cost them dear as they went down by 50 runs in the first of two one-day games against West Indies A at Stormont.

The power of Andre Russell and, to a lesser extent, No 10 Gavin Tonge, helped the tourists hammer 87 off the last eight overs and, although Ireland were actually 15 runs ahead of the Windies after 42 overs, the gap was yawning at the end.

Russell was the last man out, in the last over, for 64, after hitting seven fours and four sixes from just 31 balls and while White matched the Jamaican for fours and was the game’s top scorer with 75, he did not clear the boundary once and faced 63 balls more.

It may have made a difference if the Instonians batsman had stayed to the finish but he was bowled by Russell in the 42nd over and although Albert van der Merwe, on his debut, hit the only six of the innings, it was all over with 11 balls unused.

Ireland had come across Russell before and anyone who was in Jamaica in April should not have been surprised by his all-round prowess. In the second innings of the three-day game, he hit 10 sixes in a 62-ball century and in the one-day game that followed he took five wickets for 42.

He went one better yesterday, finishing with six for 42 although Alex Cusack and John Mooney could rightly claim they were unlucky with the ball heading over the top and pitching outside leg respectively while Rory McCann, Ireland’s other debutant, trod on his own wicket on his follow through.

The rest could have no complaints with Gary Wilson slashing to slip — one of two impressive catches by captain Devon Smith — Paul Stirling mistiming a pull to square leg and White beaten for pace and playing on after his highest one-day score for 10 years.

Kevin O’Brien, in his first game as captain — Trent Johnston is expected back on Friday — again looked out of touch, his 13 using up 35 balls with only one boundary but it was still one more than Cusack, Mooney and Jones managed between them as they aggregated 37 from 59 balls.

The Ireland bowling for 40 overs impressed, however. Up front Phil Eaglestone and O’Brien reduced the Windies to 28 for four but it was to be another 23 overs before the next breakthrough, Eaglestone returning to pick up his third wicket, from a skyer to O’Brien.

Alex Cusack, denied his full quota because O’Brien mysteriously brought back Jones, was the only other wicket-taker and it was a surprise that Paul Stirling was not given a bowl.

As for van der Merwe, the off spinner bowled tidily but without threat and his place could be at risk for tomorrow’s game, because George Dockrell returns as the No 1 slow bowler, in place of Jones, and someone has to make way for Johnston.

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