Hayden Walsh Jr. said that he was inspired by the 10-year anniversary of his father’s death after helping to secure a tense, one-wicket win for West Indies in Barbados.
The match at Kensington Oval went down to the penultimate ball, with No. 9 Walsh unbeaten on 46 when Sheldon Cottrell hit a six to seal victory. Walsh was batting for only the third time in his ODI career, but shared in partnerships of 52 and 32 for the eighth and ninth wickets as West Indies recovered from 148 for 7 to hold off Ireland and take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Walsh, 27, said that he had been confident of getting the job done, having played as a batting all-rounder at the Under-19 level. Still, there were a couple of nervy moments with victory in sight, as Cottrell was nearly run out twice in consecutive deliveries during the final over – with the bowler, Mark Adair, fumbling on both occasions.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Walsh said. “I went down to Sheldon and he said he was not in but he thinks the guy dropped the ball, so I was more confident on that one. The last one, I didn’t expect him to come back for [a second run], because the guy had the ball in his hands, so I didn’t want to take any unwanted risks and lose a wicket.
“I also backed Sheldon to do his part. I wasn’t looking to get the strike unless it was the last ball. I was hoping that he would get a single or we could scramble one and I could face the last ball.”
Asked if the crowd’s support had had an impact, Walsh, who plays for Barbados Tridents in the CPL, said that he had been more focused on the date, 10 years on from losing his father, also called Hayden Walsh, as a teenager.
“Today [Thursday] marks the 10th anniversary of my father’s death and I got that inspiration to take the team over the line,” he said.
“It was a bit overwhelming. I was talking myself through the whole innings and to get over the line was like a long journey. Felt like I had just run a whole marathon.”
Before eking out the last few runs with Cottrell, Walsh put on vital stands with Khary Pierre and Alzarri Joseph. “I reassured them that we’re going to do this, all we need to do is watch the ball and look at the scoreboard,” he said.
West Indies and Ireland face off again in one more ODI, in Grenada on Sunday, before playing three T20Is. Despite the gap between the sides narrowing sharply, following West Indies’ five-wicket win on Tuesday, Walsh said there was no sense of the home side taking their opponents lightly.
“We were excepting them to come back hard,” Walsh said. “The performance that they did in the first game, I wouldn’t say it would reflect what they’re like. So I was expecting them to come back harder and give a better shot of winning the game.
“They wanted it a little bit more, but it’s cricket, you can’t just come and ‘bang, bang, bang’ and win a game, you have to actually build an innings. I don’t think we did that very well and the Irish bowled pretty well.”
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