Debutant Brooks stars in West Indies win over Ireland

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Led by a brilliant batting display on debut by Shamarh Brooks, West Indies held off a challenge from Ireland in the opening match of the CG Insurance ODI Series, on Saturday to win by a comfortable margin.

The stylish Brooks made 93 in a record century stand with captain Kieron Pollard (63) and a solid team bowling performance gave the home team a boost to start the new year.

West Indies made 269 off 48.5 overs and Ireland were bowled out for 245 in 49.1 overs. Alzarri Joseph (10-0-50-3), Romario Shepherd (9-0-50-3) and Odean Smith (5.1-0-26-2) were the leading wicket takers for the hosts in defending the target.

The victory gives West Indies 10 points on the ICC ODI Super League table as they registered their seventh straight win against Ireland in ODIs taking the tally to 11 matches won out of 13.

Proceeding commenced with West Indies debuts to the Brooks, Smith and opener Justin Greaves. After being sent into bat, West Indies slumped to 62-4 in the 19th over after Shai Hope (29) and Roston Chase (1) were dismissed in consecutive overs.

However, Brooks on debut joined forces with captain Pollard and repaired the innings superbly. Brooks and Pollard combined to register a magnificent stand of 155 – the highest fifth wicket partnership at Sabina Park – beating the previous best of 95 by Sir Richie Richardson and Gus Logie in 1991.

When Pollard was dismissed caught at long-off off the bowling of medium-pacer Craig Young looking to launch his fifth maximum into the stands, at 217-5 in the 42nd over the West Indies seemed set for a powerful final 10 overs assault.

This did not occur as they lost their final six wickets for 52 runs en route to Brooks being denied scoring his maiden century as he perished leg-before to medium-pacer Mark Adair with five overs to go.

The bowling reply started excellently for West Indies with the economical left-arm orthodox spinner Akeal Hosein, striking in his first over dismissing William Porterfield without scoring.

The Irish batting trio of captain Andy Balbernie (71), Andy McBrine (34) and Harry Tector (53) played well and took the score to 165-1 in the 35th over. Crucial double strikes from Shepherd and Smith saw Ireland then slip to 173-4 in the 38th over.

At this point with McBrine, having to retire hurt and replaced by concussion substitute, West Indies bowlers regained control of proceedings and snuffed out Ireland’s challenge.

The two teams will return to the same venue for the second CG Insurance ODI on Tuesday. First ball is 09:30h. (windiescricket.com)

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