Smith, Powell steer Windies home against Ireland
A solid opening stand laid the foundation for West Indies' successful run-chase in a four-wicket win over a battling Ireland team in the One-Day International (ODI) match in front of a small crowd at Sabina Park in Kingston yesterday.
The hosts, still showing a few signs of rustiness that was glaringly apparent in the recently drawn two-match T20 series, reached 205-6 off 36 overs and four balls in reply to Ireland's 202 all out, on a pitch which appeared easier for batting as the day wore on.
Scores: Ireland 202 (49.2 overs); West Indies 205-6 (36.4 overs)
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies ODI skipper, won the Man of the Match Award after a good all-round performance.
But the hard-hitting Dwayne Smith, with an attacking 55 runs from 53 balls, and a comparatively subdued Kieran Powell (57 from 80 balls), set up the victory with a first-wicket partnership of 100.
The 30-year-old Bravo, obviously not overly satisfied with the performance, said, "A win is a win and that's important", but he added that "there is more work to be done" ahead of the upcoming limited-overs series against the visiting English team.
Though there was early morning moisture in the wicket, Ireland captain William Porterfield said he chose to bat first because he felt the West Indies batting, which showed a brittle side during the T20s, could have been put under pressure with a target of about 240 runs.
"It was slightly damper this morning, but we knew once we got through the first 10 overs then we could build a platform. But we lost wickets on a regular basis and it didn't allow us to pick up momentum," the 29-year-old said.
Earlier, Ireland won the toss under mostly sunny conditions and chose to bat first, but lost wickets regularly against a steady West Indies bowling attack which benefited from the sluggish nature of the pitch.
Gary Wilson, the wicketkeeper/batsman top scored with 62 runs from 89 balls, while all-rounder Stuart Thompson added a 34-ball 33.
Towering seamer Jason Holder grabbed 3-34 to lead the West Indies bowling. Bravo, bowling medium pace, and left-arm spinner Nikita Miller supported with 3-36 and 2-30, respectively.
After Smith and Powell put on the century stand in the West Indies' reply, the regional team lost a few quick wickets in the middle as Ireland fought back valiantly.
But Bravo struck a quickfire 35 before Marlon Samuels closed things off with a sweetly-struck six off left-arm spinner George Dockrell in his 26 not out.
Medium pacer Stuart Thompson was Ireland's best bowler with 2-17 off four overs.