Simmons, Pollard, Bravo give West Indies series-levelling win
SUMMARY: West Indies 140-1 (Simmons 91*, Lewis 46) beat Ireland 138 (O'Brien 36, Pollard 3-17, Bravo 3-19) by nine wickets
Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo picked up three wickets each before Lendl Simmons‘ scintillating knock made short work of their 139 chase as West Indies romped home by nine wickets against Ireland to finish the three-match series 1-1.
After being asked to bat, Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien gave Ireland another breezy start and took them to 50 in just 3.2 overs but just like in the second T20I, Pollard pegged them back with his variations. Bravo, too, joined in as Ireland were all out for 138 in 19.1 overs.
Simmons attacked right from the start, hitting ten sixes and five fours in his unbeaten 40-ball 91 and powered West Indies home with nine overs to spare.
O’Brien gives Ireland flying start
After being dismissed off a full-toss in the second T20I, O’Brien ensured he didn’t disappoint this time around and gave Ireland a flying start. In the second over, O’Brien hit Romario Shepherd for a four and six on back-to-back deliveries before Stirling finished it off with another six.
Sheldon Cottrell found some movement in the opening over but soon it all went awry for him as O’Brien smashed the first five balls of his next over for fours. Ireland had stormed to 48 for no loss after three overs.
Pollard, Bravo strike back
After registering his career-best figures in the last game, Pollard once again did the rescue act for his team. He struck with his fourth delivery after bringing himself on in the fourth over. While trying to launch one over long-on, O’Brien miscued and Shimron Hetmyer made no mistake. With the drizzle getting heavier, the umpires asked the players to walk off.
When play resumed after 45 minutes, Bravo trapped Stirling lbw from around the wicket. The opener asked for a review in the false hope that the ball might have pitched outside the leg stump but it had pitched in line. The wicket made Bravo West Indies’ highest-wicket taker in T20Is as he surpassed Samuel Badree’s tally of 54.
Andrew Balbirnie and Gareth Delany kept the scoring rate up for a while, helping Ireland to 73 for 2 at the end of seven overs. But wickets soon fell in clusters. Pollard dismissed Delany and Harry Tector in the eighth over, and in the 11th, Gary Wilson fell to Shepherd followed by Balbirnie’s run-out.
While Ireland crossed 100 in the 12th over, they had lost six wickets by then. Two more wickets fell in the 14th over, including another run-out, before Bravo wrapped up the innings by picking up the last two.
Simmons’ onslaught powers West Indies home
A target of 139 was well below-par and the way Simmons and Evin Lewis started, they made it look like even paltry. Simmons carted Barry McCarthy for a six and two fours in the second over of the chase. However, he offered an opportunity when he mistimed Mark Adair in the fifth over but Balbirnie dropped the chance at mid-off.
Simmons was on 23 off 17 at that time and then there was no looking back. He struck at least one six in every over for the rest of the chase, and after being dropped, he struck nine sixes and two fours in the 23 deliveries he faced. He was also helped by some undisciplined bowling as the Ireland bowlers struggled to find the right length.
Such was Simmons’ onslaught that it made Lewis’ 25-ball 46 look pedestrian. Lewis fell to Simi Singh when West Indies were one hit away from victory, and fittingly, Simmons did that with yet another six. (ESPNCricinfo)