Evin Lewis scored an attractive 99 from 99 balls to guide the West Indies to victory in the first One Day International (ODI) against Ireland at Kensington Oval tonight. Chasing a total of 181 for victory, the regional side scored 184 for the loss of five wickets in 32.2 overs.
Even though Alzarri Joseph was named Player of the Match for his outstanding figures of four wickets for 32 runs when Ireland batted, it was Lewis’ entertaining inning that delightd the modest crowd in the day/night encounter.
The left-handed opener played several attacking shots on both sides of the wicket. Lewis needed to hit a six off the last ball he received to score his century but unfortunately he could only manage a four, the lofted shot falling just short of the boundary.
The attacking batsman lost his partner Shai Hope with the score on 27 in the fifth over when the prolific right-handed batsman on 13 top-edged medium pacer Barry McCarthy to short mid-wicket and was caught by William Porterfield.
Brandon King and Lewis shared an entertaining second-wicket partnership of 71 that took the score to 98. King was almost a spectator while he was at the crease, while Lewis was at his attacking best racing to 50 from 46 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
King seemed to be well set when he swept at off-spinner Sami Singh and was caught by McCarthy at backward square for 20.
The West Indies rushed to a hundred for the loss of two wickets from 79 balls. They then had a brief stutter losing two wickets at 112 and 130. Shimron Hetmyer was caught at the crease by wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker after playing a slog sweep off Singh and Nicholas Pooran (17) chopped a ball from off-spinner Andrew McBrine into the hands of Singh at backward point.
Roston Chase (19) shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 48 with Lewis. When he was dismissed with the score on 178, the West Indies were just three runs away from victory.
Earlier, Ireland won the toss and elected to bat and were bowled out for 180 runs in 46.1 overs. They lost a steady flow of wickets after a promising start from openers Paul Stirling and Gareth Delany who posted 34 for the first wicket. Stirling made 15 before he was caught at midwicket by Kieron Pollard off fast bowler Joseph.
Andrew Balbirnie who replaced Stirling struck Joseph over midwicket for a towering six but the Irish captain’s innings ended when off-spinning all-rounder Chase lured him into driving at a ball pitched outside the off-stump and wicketkeeper Hope gleefully accepted the catch. At 52 for the loss of two wickets Ireland were in a shaky position.
The visitors limped to 63 for three when Delany who tried to anchor the innings, was caught by Hope low to his left after scoring 19 runs from 39 balls.
Five runs later, Kevin O-Brien was trapped lbw by Joseph for four. Left-handed pacer Sheldon Cotterrell (2 for 39) gave his first salute of the day when William Porterfield was caught by Hope off his bowling for 15. At that stage Ireland were 80 for five and some fans were speculating that they might not score 150 runs.
When Singh was caught by Hope off Cotterrell for five in the 23rd over, Ireland were 86 for six and the fans’ speculation seemed to be on the verge of becoming a reality. But Tucker who top-scored with 31 and Mark Adair who made 29, shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 54 to take the score to 152.
Adair was stumped by Hope off the bowling of leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr., finally reinstated into the Windies’ line-up. Adair faced 34 balls and struck two fours and one six, while Tucker was a bit more sedate. The wicketkeeper/batsman faced 68 balls and struck two fours.
Joseph was the most outstanding bowler for the West Indies, while Walsh Jr. chipped in with two wickets for 30 runs from ten overs. Hope was brilliant behind the stumps with five dismissals.