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Windies save face


Windies save face

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – A determined face-saving effort put history on hold allowing West Indies to pull off an 11-run victory over persistent Ireland and draw the two-match T20 international series at Sabina Park, yesterday.
Captain Darren Sammy grabbed three wickets to lead a late counter-attack as West Indies stormed back from a poor batting performance to deprive the visitors of a first series win against a Test-playing nation.
Ireland restricted West Indies to an embarrassing 96 for 9 in 20 overs, their second lowest total in completed innings, since making 79 for 7 against Zimbabwe in 2010.
The visitors, at one stage, appeared to be inching to victory until Sammy’s diehard display, a three-wicket haul in the middle overs that sent their effort into a tail spin.
Ireland had slumped to 22 for three when Gary Wilson arrived and occupied the crease long enough to move the game gradually away from the hosts.  Wilson was the inspiration to the run chase with a gutsy top score of 35 and counting four boundaries while carefully compiling his innings.
However, an unpopular decision by Sammy to bring Dwayne Bravo back into the attack for a second spell paid off with the wicket of Wilson.
As the crowd voiced their disapproval at Bravo’s return, Wilson went for a huge shot but ended up hitting the ball high into the air for the Trinidadian all-rounder to settle under it.
Sammy had Andrew Poynter caught for two, bowled Kevin O’Brien for three and had Stuart Thompson caught for seven.
West Indies raised their game in the field, clawing their way back as Ireland subsided under a combined bowling effort that saw a wicket each for Krishmar Santokie, Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Bravo.
The only other Irish batsman to reach double figures was Ed Joyce who scored 10.
Earlier, Alex Cusack, with an outstanding four wicket haul, rocked the top order and the tail end after West Indies were sent in by Ireland.
Cusack, a right-arm fast-medium bowler, removed the openers after a 27-run stand.
Andre Fletcher, the replacement for Chris Gayle who was ruled out with a minor niggle, top scored with 19 including two sixes and was Cusack’s first scalp, caught attempting to play square.
Dwayne Smith was caught at point for 11, Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo scored 10 each, Lendl Simmons got 12 and Sunil Narine was unbeaten on 12.
Sammy was awarded man of the match for leading the fight back by taking three for 22.
Both teams meet tomorrow in the lone one day international (ODI) match.