World T20: West Indies lock horns with Ireland in must-win clash


West Indies and Ireland look to seal a place in the Super 12s as they take on each other in their last group stage encounter of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart on Friday.

West Indies tasted defeat in their opening match of the tournament as Scotland pulled off an upset to beat them by 42 runs. Although the bowlers did a good job, the batting failed to impress.

West Indies’ coach Phil Simmons even expressed his disappointment at the performance of their batters in that match.

But the Caribbean team made amends swiftly as they delivered a thoroughly professional performance in the very next match up against Zimbabwe, winning by 31 runs.

Johnson Charles, Rovman Powell and Akeal Hossein played good hands with the bat, while Alzarri Joseph breathed fire with the ball, registering superb figures of 4-16.

Ireland players celebrate a wicket (Photo: Getty Images)

They will now be looking to carry the momentum and confidence forward into this match. Following a disappointing outing a last year’s T20 World Cup, the West Indies surely can’t afford an exit at least before qualifying for the Super 12s this time out.

Ireland, on the other hand, are also coming into this match on the back of a morale-boosting win against Scotland. Curtis Campher’s superb knock of 72 from 32 deliveries helped Ireland chase down a challenging total of 177.

Not only that, Campher had also registered figures of 2-9 with the ball earlier in the match, which sums up how big an impact he made on Ireland’s fortunes in the game.

It was important for Andrew Balbirnie’s men to win that match and keep their chances of progression to the Super 12 stage still intact. Especially after they had started their campaign with a disappointing 31-run loss to Zimbabwe.

Predicted Playing XIs

West Indies: Kyle Mayers, Johnson Charles, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran (c & wk), Shamarh Brooks, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Odean Smith, Obed McCoy

Ireland: Paul Stirling, Andrew Balbirnie (c), Lorcan Tucker (wk), Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, Gareth Delany, Mark Adair, Simi Singh, Barry McCarthy, Joshua Little

Key Players

Alzarri Joseph: The young pacer has proven himself as West Indies’ most important player in this tournament already. Joseph has been economical in both matches so far, going at just 5.50 runs per over, and has picked up six wickets as well, which includes a match-winning spell of 4-16 against Zimbabwe.

West Indies will bank on him once again to deliver with breakthroughs in important situations.

Paul Stirling: Ireland should consider themselves lucky that they have a win to their name in two matches, even though a player of Paul Stirling’s stature has failed to score big in both matches.

Stirling knocks the opposition completely out of the game when he goes big and Ireland will be hoping to see him at his best in this must-win clash. Over 3,000 runs in 116 T20 internationals, at an average of 27.95 and strike-rate of 134.48 sum up Stirling’s quality as a batter. (ICC)

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