Minnows Ireland survived a lower order wobble to beat West Indies for only the third time in a One-Day International when they stunned them by two wickets here Sunday, to also claim their first-ever series win over the Caribbean side.
Set 213 for victory in the decisive third ODI at Sabina Park, Ireland got 59 from Player-of-the-Match and Player-of-the-Series Andy McBrine and 52 from Harry Tector, while stand-in captain Paul Stirling chipped in with a breezy 44.
And the visitors looked on course for an uncomplicated victory at 190 for four in the 40th over when panic suddenly set in among the lower order, four wickets tumbling for 18 runs in the space of 23 deliveries, and leaving the door slightly ajar for a West Indies comeback.
However, number 10 Craig Young held his nerve and steered the penultimate delivery of the 45th over from fast bowler Romario Shepherd to the backward point boundary, to secure the world 12th-ranked Ireland an historic win as Kieron Pollard’s unit plumbed new depths.
For West Indies, ranked eighth in the world, the defeat was their seventh in 12 outings over the last 13 months, and their sixth series loss in their last ten tours.
“I think it’s a sad day. A sad day for us and a sad day for West Indies cricket overall,” Pollard lamented afterwards.
“As players we take responsibility. As the leader of the team, I take responsibility for our performance on the field.”
Stirling, who missed the first ODI while recovering from COVID-19 but then took over the side for the last two matches after captain Andy Balbirnie tested positive, hailed the victory as a major one for the Irish.
“We’re delighted. It doesn’t happen every day. You don’t come out on away trips and turn over a side like West Indies every day so I’m very proud of the lads and how they’ve performed,” said Stirling.
Shai Hope’s top score of 53 – his 20th half-century in the format – looked to be laying the foundation for a large West Indies total after they were sent in.
But his dismissal triggered a decline, the next nine wickets going down for 126 runs, to leave the home side with an inadequate 212 all out in the 45th over.
All-rounder Jason Holder propped up the lower order with an important 44 off 60 balls and Akeal Hosein got 23 but West Indies were left in tatters by off-spinner McBrine’s four for 28 and seamer Young’s three for 43, and the innings never really recovered.
“There was a nice bit of spin in there for me. I just changed up my lengths and kept it as simple as possible, and tried to force them to make mistakes and thankfully it’s happened for the last three games,” said McBrine, who ended with a batting average of 64 and a series-leading ten wickets at 11 runs apiece.
Hope struck nine fours and a six in a swift 39-ball knock, posting 72 for the first wicket with fellow Barbadian Justin Greaves (12), before top-edging a hook at Young to fine leg in the 11th over.
Greaves then sliced Young to point in the 13th, Nicholas Pooran (2) missed a straight one from McBrine and was lbw for one in the next over before the in-form Shamarh Brooks (1) played back when he should have been forward and was plumb lbw to McBrine in the 16th.
When Pollard (3), Roston Chase (19) and Shepherd (13) followed cheaply, West Indies had lost seven wickets for 47 runs, to decline to 119 for seven in the 28th over.
Holder then anchored an eighth wicket stand of 63 with Hosein before Odean Smith belted a four and two sixes in a ten-ball unbeaten 20 to hand West Indies precious runs at the end.
Speedster Alzarri Joseph provided a ray of hope when he removed William Porterfield with the first ball of the innings but McBrine anchored successive half-century partnerships – 73 for the second wicket with Stirling and 79 for the third with Tector – to put Ireland in control.
Stirling, dropped by Holder at slip in the second over before he had scored, struck five fours and a six in a 38-ball cameo while Tector completed his third half-century of the series, notching three fours in a patient 76-ball knock.
The left-handed McBrine faced 100 balls and stroked half-dozen fours and a six but it was his dismissal – caught at the wicket off Smith in the 31st over – which triggered the late slide.
Spinners Chase (3-44) and Hosein (3-53) then made quick strikes to set up a nervy finish before Ireland eventually steadied themselves.