Sarwan in top form as Windies shut out Ireland – Digicel Match Report
The West Indies were once again too strong for Ireland, as they brought the Digicel-sponsored Jamaica Cricket Festival to a close with a 16 run victory over the visitors at Sabina Park on Sunday, after rain forced an almost three hour delay to the start of play.
The delay resulted in the contest being changed from a Twenty20 clash to a 15 over-a-side affair by the match officials.
Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ravi Rampaul starred with bat and ball respectively, as the Windies closed the series in unbeaten and will now turn their attention to the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament which will be played across the region from April 30th to May 16th.
Sarwan slammed an eye-catching 52 off 27 balls and shared in an 81 run partnership with Wavell Hinds, who made 38 runs (38 balls), to rescue the Windies who were laboring at 39 for 2. Opener Andre Fletcher supported the cause with 27 runs off 17 balls, while stand-in skipper Darren Sammy contributed an unbeaten 19, which came off just eight balls and included two sixes and a four to lead the home side to 152 for 4 in their 15 overs.
There wasn’t much joy for the Irish bowlers, but Peter Connell (1 for 25), Kevin O’Brien (1 for 28) and Alex Cusack (1 for 29) did manage some success on the sluggish pitch.
The Irish did however get off to a good start after sending in the West Indies to bat first, removing Shivnarine Chanderpaul off the third ball of the day to leave the West Indies on 3 for 1. Chanderpaul – who made 64 in their last clash – was run out by Ireland captain, William Porterfield, who was once again the fielder responsible for Fletcher’s dismissal, taking the catch off O’Brien’s bowling to send back the opener to the pavilion after four overs.
Sarwan and Hinds then took the advantage away from the Irish team, with some explosive hitting. Sarwan was in particularly good form, slugging his way to four 4’s and three 6’s in front of an appreciative crowd.
In their reply, Ireland were stalled on 136 for 7 off their allotment of overs, with Trent Johnston top scoring with an exciting 39 runs off 20 balls, as Rampaul ran riot with the ball, ending with figures of 3 for 26 off his three overs.
The powerful Johnston was in a defiant mood and was a constant threat, lofting four massive sixes and one four during his knock, before he was caught by Sammy.
Porterfield added 25 off 18 balls and delighted during the early exchanges with two 6’s and a 4, while Nigel Jones also assisted the cause with 21 off 18 balls.
David Bernard Jr. (1 for 14), Narsingh Deonarine (1 for 24), Darren Sammy (1 for 25) and Sulieman Benn (1 for 28) also picked up wickets during Ireland’s reply.
West Indies coach, Otis Gibson, was pleased with the win and underlined that the main objectives for the Jamaica Cricket Festival were met.
“I’m happy, the guys really did well and all in all it was a good performance from the entire team,” said Gibson. “This series was good for us, we achieved what we came here to achieve and that was match practice and team chemistry so we are very pleased and now we are just focusing on the Twenty20 World Cup and doing well there.”
Porterfield was also pleased with his team’s participation in the tournament citing that there have been clear improvements over the period.
“The past couple of weeks have been fantastic for us and we have seen a lot of improvements in several areas. This is exactly what we wanted going into what we are expecting will be a very challenging Twenty20 World Cup,” Porterfield said.