Romario Shepherd’s maiden One-Day International half-century went in vain as embattled Ireland stunned a lacklustre West Indies by five wickets under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern in Jamaica on Thursday, to level the three-match series.
Sent in at Sabina Park in the rescheduled second contest, West Indies collapsed to 111 for seven in the 34th over before Shepherd produced one of two sensational late cameos with 50 off 41 deliveries, to propel the hosts to 229 all out off 48 overs.
Odean Smith matched him with an audacious 19-ball 46, the pair putting on a rollicking 58 off 27 deliveries for the ninth wicket.
In reply, however, Ireland were guided by Harry Tector’s unbeaten 54 off 75 deliveries, the right-hander completing his second successive half-century of the series with four fours and a six.
Rain forced a near 1-½ hour long delay at 157 for four in the 32nd over and when play resumed, the revised target of 168 from 36 overs left Ireland requiring only 11 runs from 28 balls, and they overhauled their target with George Dockrell (5) the only casualty.
“As I said before, our techniques would be tested and two games out of two, we’ve found ourselves inside the first 20 overs, four wickets down,” West Indies captain Kieron Pollard lamented.
“We spoke about how we wanted to combat that and we found ourselves in the same position, so individuals need to find a way.
“We didn’t seem to have the answers in the first 20 overs – we were staring down the barrel of being bowled out inside the first 30 overs.
“We need to take stock. There are no amount of words and excuses you can use to come and try and perform on the international stage.”
For Ireland whose squad was left threadbare by several COVID-19 positives over the last week, the victory was a massive boost ahead of the series decider on Sunday.
“[The win] means a lot. We’re delighted with the way the lads responded, coming from a tough loss the other day,” said stand-in captain Paul Stirling, who missed the opener while recovering from COVID.
“To come and put a performance in like this after the sort of off-field activities that have gone on, we’re delighted to get the win.”
Seamer Craig Young (3-42) had earlier wiped out the West Indies top order, Shai Hope (17) caught at the wicket on review, Justin Greaves losing his off-stump for ten and Nicholas Pooran lbw for one, also courtesy of DRS.
Stumbling on 43 for three in the 14th, in-form Shamarh Brooks arrived to stroke 43 off 64 balls with five fours, adding 48 for the fourth wicket with Roston Chase (11), to steady the innings.
When Brooks missed a sweep at left-arm spinner Dockrell to be lbw in the 34th over, four wickets tumbled for 20 runs in quick time as off-spinner Andy McBrine (4-36) ripped through the middle order, leaving the hosts staring at their lowest-ever total against Ireland.
Entering at number nine, Shepherd belted seven fours while Smith, playing at his home venue in only his second ODI, smote two fours and five giant sixes at number 10, as West Indies gathered 96 runs from the last nine overs of the innings.
Shepherd also put on 32 for the eighth wicket with Akeal Hosein (11) and a further 28 for the last wicket with Alzarri Joseph (four not out).
Ireland were then given a decent start by William Porterfield (26) who put on 37 for the first wicket with Stirling (21).
But it was Tector who put Ireland ahead of the run chase by anchoring two key stands, posting 44 for the third wicket with McBrine (35) before adding a further 53 for the fourth wicket with Curtis Campher (12).