Ireland reach Super 12, dump West Indies out of T20 World Cup

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Ireland’s Paul Stirling (C) celebrates victory with teammates after the match. AFP

Veteran opener Paul Stirling slammed an unbeaten 66 as Ireland made the Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 on Friday and sent the two-time champions West Indies crashing out in a stunning upset.

Disciplined bowling restricted the Caribbean side to 146-5, with Gareth Delany taking a career-best 3-16, before the Irish romped to their target for the loss of one wicket with 15 balls to spare in Hobart.

Stirling, 32, at his seventh World Cup, shared in a blistering 73-run opening stand with captain Andy Balbirnie to supercharge Ireland’s run chase.

The final Super 12 slot will be decided later Friday when Zimbabwe meet Scotland.

“It means everything. We had a disappointing loss last year at the same stage,” said Balbirnie.

“Losing the first game and then coming back and beating a two-time champion in a must-win game… just couldn’t be prouder. Pretty emotional finish to the game.”

The West Indies won the tournament in 2012 and 2016 but came to Australia with a new-look team after the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard retired, and Andre Russell was overlooked.

They stumbled badly in their opening match against Scotland, crashing by 42 runs, before recovering to emphatically beat Zimbabwe.
But in Ireland, who are playing in their seventh straight World Cup and had only been beyond the first round once before, in 2009, they again hit the wall.

“It’s tough, we haven’t batted well in this tournament at all,” said West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran.
“This is a learning experience for us. We have disappointed our fans and ourselves. It’s definitely hurting.”

Agence-France Presse

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