COLOMBO – West Indies advanced to the Super Eights stage of the World Twenty20 Cricket competition after their final Group B match against Ireland came to a damp abandonment today.
Needing a victory to progress to the Super Eights, Ireland reached 129-6 in 19 overs after being sent in to bat at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
Niall O’Brien’s 25 was the top score of an innings that was reduced by an over after an earlier rain delay.
The first downpour, which came after five overs, quickly cleared but the rain set in during the innings break and forced the match to be abandoned.
With each team taking one point from the no-result, West Indies progressed to the Super Eights along with Group B winners Australia, while Ireland missed out due to their inferior net run-rate.
West Indies’ next match is against England in Pallekele on Thursday.
Ireland made the worst possible start, skipper William Porterfield losing the toss and then being dismissed first ball for the second time in a row at the tournament.
Porterfield, caught from a top-edged hook against Australia on the same ground five days ago, this time failed to keep out a full inswinger from Fidel Edwards.
Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce responded to the early setback and Ireland had reached 33-1 off five overs when rain caused the first delay.
When the match – now reduced to 19 overs – resumed, Ireland lost Joyce (17) and Stirling (19) in successive overs to slump to 37-3.
Joyce was bowled round his legs sweeping at a delivery from spinner Sunil Narine (1-21), while Stirling’s miscued pull at a short ball from medium pacer Darren Sammy (1-23) ended in the hands of Chris Gayle.
Gary Wilson (21) and Niall O’Brien forged a stand worth 33 off 32 balls for Ireland’s fourth wicket.
Gayle bags two scalps
But spinner Gayle removed both during his three-over spell of 2-21, greeting the fall of each wicket with some dance moves.
Kevin O’Brien slammed one six before being bowled by Ravi Rampaul for 13 before seventh-wicket pair Trent Johnston (15 not out) and Nigel Jones (14 not out) saw Ireland through the final four overs.
The rain returned and from that point never looked like relenting, denying Ireland the chance to defend their modest total.
It was poetic justice perhaps for West Indies as rain had robbed them of the chance to defend 191 against Australia on Saturday, despite their bad bowling start, and the Aussies took the game under the Duckworth/Lewis system.