Lendl Simmons' unbeaten 91 guided West Indies to a crushing nine-wicket win against Ireland as their Twenty20 series finished level at 1-1 on Sunday.

Rain briefly threatened to scupper the third and final match just as it had the second and Ireland will have wished for a greater downpour after being comprehensively outplayed at Warner Park in Basseterre.

The tourists collapsed from 50-1 to 138 all out following a 45-minute delay as Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo snared three wickets apiece.

Simmons ensured the Windies made light work of the chase, hitting five fours and 10 sixes in a blistering 40-ball innings that surpassed his previous best T20I score of 82.

Evin Lewis added 46 from 25 deliveries in an opening stand worth 133 to help dash Ireland's chances of escaping with a series victory.

Simi Singh claimed Lewis courtesy of a top edge before Simmons ended the contest two balls later, the 34-year-old launching another six at the end of the 11th over to force a drawn series.

Rain wreaked havoc as the second Twenty20 international between West Indies and Ireland was washed out in Basseterre on Saturday.

No result was declared after the game was called off approaching 22:00 local time – Ireland boasting a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.

Career-best figures from captain Kieron Pollard helped restrict Ireland to 147-9 from 19 overs, with a rain delay leading to a reduction in overs.

Confidence was high in the Ireland camp after their memorable four-run triumph in the opening T20I in Grenada.

But Pollard claimed 4-25 from four overs – the 10th best performance for the Windies in T20I history, dismissing Gareth Delany (44), skipper Andy Balbirnie (36), Gary Wilson (5) and George Dockrell (2).

Sheldon Cottrell (2-10) and Romario Shepherd (1-38) also chopped in with wickets for the Windies.

West Indies managed to start their run chase and they reached 16-1 after Lendl Simmons (10) fell victim to Paul Stirling (1-11) before the rain set in for good.

Nyeem Young starred with the bat as West Indies sealed a maiden win over Australia at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup at the eighth attempt.

Jayden Seales did the damage with the ball to hustle Australia out for 179 and Young’s measured innings in reply saw West Indies to victory with 24 balls to spare of their Group B opener.

Young was the matchwinner for the Windies with a priceless 61 from 69 balls just as Australia were bearing down on his side’s tail.

"It's good to get a win," Young said. “It doesn’t matter the opponent, but it is good to get it against Australia. I am happy to get it across the line, and I think it shows how we fight with the ball and the bat.”

Australia batted first and were bowled out for just 179. Jake Fraser-McGurk fought a lone battle, with a defiant 84 from 97 balls at the top of the order.

Wickets tumbled around him though as Seales (four for 49) and Matthew Forde (three for 24) ran riot. Patrick Rowe struck 40 to give the young Aussies a sniff, but 179 was well below par.

Windies slipped to 92 for five in the chase, thanks chiefly to a fine spell of leg-spin bowling by Tanveer Sangha whose promise has already seen him feature in the Big Bash League.

His four for 30 ran the Windies desperately close, and they breathed a sigh of relief when his allocation came to an end.

Beyond the mystery of Sangha, West Indies found comfort through Young's mature knock and got home with three overs and as many wickets to spare.

Recently recalled Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is confident the talent of the current squad could see the team return to dominating world cricket in 10 to 12 years.

The 36-year-old recently returned to the team ahead of the ongoing T20 series against Ireland, after nearly four years out of action.  The return to the fold was an unhappy one as Ireland registered a rare win over the hosts.  There were a few bright sparks, however, with Bravo himself claiming 28 for 2.

The veteran all-rounder would also have witnessed up close the new generation of players tasked with taking Windies cricket back to the top.  He admits that he is impressed so far and eager to play a part.

“I feel good to know that I am among this talented squad here and I think these guys have 10, 12 years in front of them where they can dominate world cricket at some point,” Bravo said.

“My role is not to come back and try and take anyone’s spot or to play every game but to try and share whatever knowledge I have and have gained over the years. I believe with a captain like Polly and a coach like Phil (Simmons) that these young players can produce great things for West Indies in times to come.”

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has pointed out running between the wickets as a key area of concern for the team, on the back of a surprise four-runs loss to Ireland in the opening T20 international.

On the back of a brisk 95 off 47 balls, which included an explosive eight 6s, the Irish posted 208 for 7.  The Windies, led by Evin Lewis’ 53 and a decent all-round team batting performance, made a good chase of the target before running out of enough balls to get there.

In analyzing the match, Pollard commended the bowlers for recovering from a poor start and the batsmen for making a competitive chase of the target.  He, however, believes the team could have done more running between the crease.

“When we were batting we did not have the urgency running between the wickets.  We know we are a good power-hitting team but when the singles are there and the twos are there we need to run hard between the wickets,” Pollard said.

“When Ireland were batting they hit the ball to our fieldsmen and they ran and that is something we did not do,” he added.

In their total, the Windies amassed 142 boundaries with 55 singles as compared to Ireland’s 124 boundary runs and 74 singles.

 

Windies T20 star Andre Russell has insisted he lives for the high-pressure moments after a solid performance with the bat to see Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) side Rajshahi Royals safely into the final, at the expense of Chris Gayle’s Chattogram Challengers.

Russell smashed an unbeaten 54 from 22 balls, which included seven sixes and two fours as the team successfully recovered from 80-4 in the 14th over to reach 164-8 with four balls remaining.  The total saw them claim a dramatic two-wicket win over Chattogram, who had been powered by Gayle’s blistering 60 off 24 balls.

"The plan was just to stay there until the end.  I wasn't worried about the falling wickets but as more wickets fell, it put pressure on me,” Russell told Espncricinfo.

“I just wanted one person from one end, and then let me do my thing at the other end. [Abu Jayed] Rahi stood up with me. Well done to him. I think every run was really important. These scores can be very tricky at times,” he added.

"I love playing in these situations, when it is 12, 13 or 14 runs [needed] per over," Russell said. "Sometimes I love when its like even 15 or 16. I like these challenges. I am strong and I know if I stay as still as possible, I will always have an open mindset and I don't premeditate.”

Rajshahi will face Khulna Tigers in the final on  Friday.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie insists the team is looking to create history with a T20 series win over the Windies, after taking a 1-nil lead in the three-match series on Wednesday.

On the back of 94 from Paul Sterling and 48 from Kevin O’Brien, the Irish posted a competitive 208 for 7 before restricting the Windies to 204 for 7. Along the way, the Irish, who lost their first wicket with 154 runs on the board, set the highest total ever in the powerplay. 

The win served as a tonic of sorts for the visitors who were defeated 3-0 by the Windies in the recent One Day International series between the teams. 

“It’s great to get a win but you want to win the series and make history, so if we can do that in the next two games we’ll go home very happy,” Balbirnie said.

 “We came so close in that second ODI and it may have affected us in the third ODI.  So, to come out here and show the bottle and win against one of the top teams in T20 cricket was great for the team.”

The Windies and Ireland will face off in the second T20I on Saturday at Warner Park.

 

 

 

 

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has heaped praise on recently returned all-rounder Dwyane Bravo, despite the player experiencing mixed fortunes in a rare T20 international loss against Ireland in Grenada on Tuesday. 

The 36-year-old, who has been out of competitive action at the highest level for several months, got off to a rocky start when he entered the bowling attack in the 5th over.  The bowler conceded 17 runs but recovered to end with 2 for 28, in the end playing a pivotal role in restricting Ireland to 208 for 7.

At one point, on the back of 94 from Paul Sterling and 48 from Kevin O’Brien, the Irish, who set the record for the highest power play score in T20 cricket, seemed set for a much bigger score.

“I thought he was fantastic.  After going for 17 or 18 in his first over a lot of chatter would have been about what’s going on with Bravo, he’s back and he’s expensive but it goes to show the importance of experience in T20 cricket.  You don’t lose a game in an over and he came back to get two crucial wickets,” Pollard said following the match.

Bravo accounted for the wickets of O’Brien, where he got the crucial breakthrough, and later removed Garth Delany.  Pollard also commended spinner Hayden Walsh.

“Hayden Walsh in all the carnage that was taking place as well, he bowled two overs on a trot and he was consistent with his line and length.”

 

 

 

Paul Stirling's blistering 95 set up a thrilling four-run triumph for Ireland in the opening T20I against West Indies in Grenada.

Stirling clattered eight sixes and six fours in a 47-ball knock, putting on 154 alongside Kevin O'Brien (48) for the opening wicket – meaning the tourists' eventual haul of 208-7 was relatively disappointing.

Evin Lewis was the only Windies batsman to pass fifty but muscular contributions from Shimron Hetmyer (28), Kieron Pollard (31), Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford (both 26) took the contest to the wire.

Rutherford and Dwayne Bravo – making his first international appearance since 2016 - fell to impressive left-arm seamer Josh Little (3-29) in the final over as Ireland bounced back from defeat in the recent ODI series to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber.

Their success was built upon the best powerplay score in T20I history as the openers stood on 83 without loss after six overs, Stirling having brought up his half century from 20 deliveries with his fifth six.

They duly brought up three figures in the next over but, after leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and Pollard took pace off the ball to slightly check the scoring rate, veteran all-rounder Bravo bowled O'Brien with a fine yorker that ducked in late.

Sterling mistimed a slog sweep off Walsh to be caught by Lewis five shy of a deserved century and Ireland never truly regained momentum.

Gareth Delany was their next highest scorer with 19, producing the shot of the innings with a glorious six over extra cover from Kesrick Williams, who returned a woeful 0-48 from three overs as Bravo, Khary Pierre and Sheldon Cottrell took two wickets apiece.

West Indies were unable to find a contribution of similar substance to Stirling's at the top of the innings after George Dockrell pouched a stunning catch at deep point to remove Lendl Simmons for 22, with Little the beneficiary.

Lewis stormed to a sixth T20I fifty and was typically strong square of the wicket until he hit Craig Young to a scampering Harry Tector on 53.

Hetmyer looked in the mood with three towering sixes, only for an embattled Dockrell (1-51) to have him caught by captain Andy Balbirnie.

Pollard took up the mantle and kept his side up with the rate, although Dockrell continued to enjoy himself far more in the field and held on when the Windies skipper sent Simi Singh skyward.

The pattern continued with Pooran, who pulled Young (2-31) to Delany for 26 after the 18th over from Barry McCarthy (0-55) cost a damaging 27.

Rutherford found Dockrell's unerring hands at wide long-on before Bravo – sensing a picture-book return – also went six and out as Little and further flawless catching in the deep saw Ireland home, the Windies finishing just short on 204-7.

Recently recalled Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is confident of providing part of the solution needed for the team regarding its noted lack of quality in the fast bowling department.  

The 36-year-old was recently recalled for the team’s upcoming series against Ireland after being out of international action for four years.  During the time, however, the all-rounder has enhanced his reputation as one of the sport’s premier death bowlers.

Chairman of selectors Roger Harper admitted that a primary reason for Bravo’s inclusion is geared towards bolstering the team’s death bowling.

"Death bowling is an art," Bravo said in a recent espncricinfo interview.

"Not many people around the world have really nailed death bowling to the T. If you ask anyone in world cricket to name five death bowlers in the last decade, definitely my name will come along with Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Starc,” he added.

"It is not an easy time of the game, that's why it is called death. A special skill is required to bowl in those situations. Most times, if you have the ball in the death overs, and you don't win the game, everyone turns to you, and says, "okay, it is because of the last over.”

With the team’s struggles containing batsmen during the middle and death overs, often on full display, as it was at the ICC World Cup, Bravo hopes to serve as a mentor to a new generation of West Indies bowlers.

“My motivation also to try and work with current bowlers. There's [Sheldon] Cottrell, there's Keemo Paul, there's Alzarri Joseph, there's Oshane Thomas, there's Kesrick Williams. Collectively all of us have to get better, myself included. But with the experience that I have, I can get them to understand the importance of certain deliveries and when to bowl certain deliveries and work on a better finishing game plan."

Dwayne Bravo can act as a mentor to boost West Indies' death bowling after earning a recall for their Twenty20 international series against Ireland, according to lead selector Roger Harper.

The veteran all-rounder announced he was coming out of international retirement for T20s last December in the hope of playing at the T20 World Cup in Australia this year.

Bravo last represented the Windies against Pakistan in September 2016 and has 1,142 runs and 52 wickets in 66 T20Is.

Speaking about Bravo's recall, Harper said it was his work with the ball that was key in the decision.

"Dwayne Bravo was recalled with the specific intention of bolstering our 'death' bowling, which was identified as an area that really needs improving," he said. 

"His record in this department speaks for itself. He will also be able to act as a mentor to the other 'death' bowlers and lend his experience wherever needed."

Jason Holder is rested for the three-match series, while all-rounder Rovman Powell is recalled.

Squad in full: Kieron Pollard (c), Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Sherfane Rutherford, Lendl Simmons, Hayden Walsh jr., Kesrick Williams.

 

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard seemed to make good on his promise to take ‘tough decisions’ after being dissatisfied with the team’s performance in the second ODI against Ireland.

Top-order batsman Shimron Hetmyer was dropped from the team’s line-up for the third One Day International (ODI) against Ireland, on the back of what has been general frustration with the looseness of his stroke play in the first two matches of the series.

On Sunday, however, the skipper seemed to make it clear the move was just a temporary one with Hetmyer expected to return to the team’s line-up later this week.  In the two ODI games played, Hetmyer made 14 runs and was caught on both occasions after questionable shots.

“We spoke about working hard and the discipline and what is required for the team.  He is a very important player for us and it is a discussion that we had.  We need him to settle down and bat the way that we know he can bat.  In India he did it very well for us,” Pollard said following the match.

“These things happen, it just goes to show the dynamics of the team we have, Sunil coming in and getting that opportunity as well.  We want guys to be very, very hungry because there are other guys knocking on the door so we can’t relax and take anything for granted,” he added.

“At the end of the day, all is well that ends well.  He is a jovial guy.  He has helped out throughout the day and we look forward to him making runs in the T20 series.”

Evin Lewis scored a century as West Indies swept the ODI series with Ireland 3-0 by securing a five-wicket Duckworth-Lewis-Stern victory.

The Windies already had the series wrapped up going into Sunday's finale in Grenada, and they were again dominant in St George's.

Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie led by example with 71 while Andy McBrine gave the innings late impetus with an unbeaten 25.

However, the tourists were bowled out for 203 as leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (4-36) and Oshane Thomas (3-41) starred with the ball for the Windies.

That target proved well within the reach of the Windies in a rain-affected chase, which saw them pursue a revised target of 197 from 47 overs.

Lewis, who struck 99 in the opening game, was the talisman once more as he hit six fours and five maximums in a superb 97-ball knock, scoring his first international century in the Windies.

Nicholas Pooran added an unbeaten 43, with the Windies surpassing the target with 64 balls to spare. Attention now turns to a three-match T20I series, which begins at the same venue on Wednesday.

All-rounder Dwayne Bravo was called up for the T20s on Sunday after coming out of international retirement.

Windies top-order batsman Evin Lewis has cautioned that he is hungry for runs after what was in many respects an underwhelming performance in 2019.

The 28-year-old batsman went the entire season without scoring a century after eight appearances, despite getting over the half-century mark on three occasions.  In fact, the last time Lewis did make it to triple figures was in 2017.  On Sunday, in the third and final ODI against Ireland, he ensured that the trend would not continue after scoring 102 in a comfortable win and series sweep over the tourist.  

The left-hander had come close to a ton once again but failed to convert to triple figures in the first ODI eventually being stuck on 99 not.  Now with 306 runs in three matches under his belt to start the season, which earned him man-of-the-series honours, Lewis is looking forward to a good year.

“I’ve been working hard in the nets with the batting coach.  I’ve been trying to open up a little more and hit the ball straight down the ground and it has been working so far,” Lewis said following the match.

“To be honest with you I have been hungry for runs.  My last ODI century was in 2017, so this year I’m very determined and I just want to make the best of it,” he added.

“Sometimes when I score 50 I get a little ultra-aggressive.  It was a great opportunity to put my head down and bat.  We weren’t behind in the game, we were in control most of the time.  Going forward I just want to continue batting like that.”

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