T20: Ireland beat West Indies by four runs to take series lead

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Ireland edged out world champions West Indies by four runs in a dramatic first T20I between the sides in Grenada.

Ireland made 208-7, with Paul Stirling (95) and Kevin O’Brien (48) putting on 154 for the opening wicket, the tourists’ highest ever partnership for any wicket in that form of cricket.

Wickets fell regularly thereafter and the hosts looked well placed to meet their target until losing late wickets. Evin Lewis top-scored with 53, Josh Little ending with figures of 3-29.

SCOREBOARD: https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19607/scorecard/1203676/west-indies-vs-ireland-1st-t20i-ireland-in-west-indies-2019-20

Ireland had suffered a 3-0 whitewash to West Indies in their recent ODI series, missing a glorious chance to take victory in the second match either side of heavy defeats.

The final two T20 games will take place in St Kitts and Nevis on Saturday and Sunday.

The win is only Ireland’s second over the West Indies in the 20-over format, their previous success coming in Kingston in 2014.

And it is only their third win against WI in all limited-overs cricket, having also won a one-day international in 2015.

Ireland’s flying start

Openers Stirling and O’Brien got Ireland off to a flying start, before O’Brien was dismissed for 48 midway through the 13th over, having hit two sixes and four fours off 32 balls.

Stirling raced to his half century in just 20 balls and smashed eight sixes and six fours in his 95 off 47 balls, his highest T20 score.

The Irish batsman played a sweep shot but a top edge saw him caught in the field by Lewis off the bowling of Hayden Walsh.

At that stage Ireland looked to be on target to better their record T20I score of 225-7 against Afghanistan in 2013 but were unable to build on their flying start as they would have liked, though ending up with a creditable total.

Gareth Delany was their next highest scorer with 19, while Sheldon Cottrell, Khary Pierre and Dwayne Bravo, playing his first West Indies game since 2016, took two wickets apiece.

The West Indies made steady progress in reply but Little claimed the wickets of Sherfane Rutherford and Bravo in the final over and with five needed to win off the last ball, the home side were unable to add to their tally. (BBC Sport)

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