Ireland picked up 10 more World Cup Super League points in Jamaica last night when they defeated West Indies in their second one-day international by five wickets after a 90-minute rain interruption.
When play resumed, Ireland were left with the straightforward task of scoring 11 runs from 28 balls, with six wickets in hand, but the hard-work had been done in the first 81 overs.
An unbeaten 50 from Harry Tector, four wickets for Andy McBrine and three for Craig Young were the highlights as Ireland added the Windies to those previous memorable WCSL victories over England in Southampton and South Africa in Malahide last summer.
It was Tector’s sixth half-century in his last nine innings as his supreme form continued. Just 21 years old, he is sure to be an Ireland regular for years and a future captain. Coming to the wicket at the fall of William Porterfield’s wicket at the end of the 10th over, he was still there exactly 50 not out when the rain arrived in the 32nd over, having hit four sumptuous fours and a top edged pull for six of Alzari Joseph.
When play resumed, Ireland's revised target was 168 from 36 overs, and George Dockrell, was dismissed, trying to finish the game in style, but Gareth Delany came in to hit the winning runs and leave Tector 54 not out.
He was pipped to the man of the match by McBrine, who had scored 35 from 45 balls to add to another excellent bowling spell which included the huge wicket of big-hitting Kieron Pollard, with his first ball to the West Indies captain.
Ireland had made the perfect start in reply to West Indies 229, with the old firm of William Porterfield and Paul Stirling back together again.
Stirling returned to the scene of Ireland’s most famous triumphs – their first World Cup victory against Pakistan in 2007 – as captain in a one-day international for the first time, in place of Andrew Balbirnie, and although it was his first match for 21 days, 10 of which were spent in a Florida hotel room, for five overs it looked as if he had never been away.
He hit three fours and a straight six which also took him past 5,000 ODI runs – the first Ireland player to reach that landmark – but, unfortunately, next ball he pushed forward to slow left arm bowler Akil Hosein and it took the outside edge into the safe hands of Jason Holder.
Porterfield was playing his 17th match against West Indies and, remarkably he has still has a top score of 29. The former captain was determined to stay on the attack despite the loss of his opening partner but after hitting a six and three fours, he hit the ball in the air once too often, straight into the hands of Pollard at short cover.
McBrine had replaced Stirling and seemed unaffected by the blow he took to the head from Odean Smith in the first match – indeed he took a couple of singles from the three balls he faced from the Windies fastest bowler – but after hitting a six and two fours in the space of six balls, he was in the zone and could not resist another pull off Romario Shepherd which ended up in the hands of long leg.
Curtis Campher was the only Ireland batsman who did not look at ease and although he survived 27 balls, eight of his 12 runs were singles before he was bowled by Hosein.
Stirling had won the vital 9am toss so had no hesitation in asking West Indies to bat first with Neil Rock replacing Lorcan Tucker, another Covid victim, the only other change from the 24 runs defeat last Saturday.
Mark Adair will prefer to forget his first spell which started with five wides down the leg side and with four more in his third over, extras were comfortably West Indies top scorer in the early stages.
Despite the helpful conditions it was the 10th over before Ireland made the breakthrough and it came from first change Young who, like Tector, is enjoying his own purple patch with the ball.
His three wickets in the first game took him to 50 ODI wickets and 16 in the last eight matches and by the end of his fourth over here he had taken three more.
Shai Hope was the first, caught behind to give Rock his maiden ODI catch as wicket-keeper although it needed the television review to confirm he had touched it. Stirling also had to ask for a review before Young got his third wicket, an lbw decision against Nicholas Pooran but again he got it right and suddenly West Indies were 43 for three.
A partnership of 48 for the fourth wicket threatened to put the home side back in control but a superb catch from Stirling, one handed to his right at slip, dismissed Roston Chase and it was the start of a glorious spell when Ireland took four wickets for 18 runs in eight overs.
When McBrine had Hosein caught at deep mid-wicket, West Indies were 143 for eight but there were two big-hitters still in the middle and Romario Shepherd and Smith helped themselves to five sixes and nine fours as 86 runs were added for the last two wickets.
With Ireland also sending down an extra three overs – they bowled an unacceptable 18 wides and a no-ball – there is plenty to improve on when they try to complete a first ODI series victory in the third and final game, back at Sabina Park, on Sunday.