We wanted to bat first — Sammy
AFTER the West Indies lost to a Ireland in a Twenty20 (T20) International for the first time ever, captain Darren Sammy suggested that perhaps his team would have been better served to bowl first when he won the toss.
Though faced with a shiny surface which appeared unusually dark, likely due to preparation moisture, the West Indies, with some batsmen looking far from match-sharp, opted to bat first and were humiliatingly restricted to 116-8 in their 20 overs.
As bright late afternoon sun dried the surface somewhat, Ireland reached 117-4 to beat the world T20 champions with relative ease.
"Credit to them, they really used the conditions well," Sammy told reporters after the surprising defeat.
"Some people might have said we should have bowled first on the wicket, but we wanted our batters to get a good go on the wicket [and] that's something we have done well in T20 [cricket] where we set our runs and we look to come back and defend it."
Sammy, whose team will look to defend their world T20 title in March, conceded that his batsmen mistimed several shots during the West Indies innings.
"We lost wickets throughout the innings, we didn't have partnerships like you saw when they [Ireland] batted. The pitch was a touch difficult...we could have been more selective on our shot-play.
"It's a mixture of everything. Some of us played some poor shots [and] some played good shots in the air but found fielders.
"It [the pitch] looked like the more you played on it [the pitch], it dried out and earlier the ball was stopping [not coming onto the bat] a bit," Sammy said.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons, a former West Indies player, said his team would have still bowled first had they won the toss, while adding he was unsure why the Caribbean team took first strike.
"We were going to field first, we were always going to field first. It's the first time some of the guys were playing here so we wanted to see what the wicket is like.
"The ball wasn't coming on at all like we are accustomed to at Sabina Park. I wouldn't say I was surprised [West Indies batted first, but] I don't know what was the reason for them batting first," Simmons said.
The beating of the West Indies was a shock to most, given that Ireland, who were invited to play in the recent Regional Super50 tournament, were comfortably brushed aside by territorial teams Guyana and Jamaica.
Ireland have beaten the West Indies before in unofficial one-day encounters. In the late 1960s, Ireland were said to defeat the West Indies on a tour of the United Kingdom. They also beat the West Indies in a 50-over game in Ireland in 1995.