Ireland beat T20 world champio...


Ireland beat T20 world champion West Indies in Grenada

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It was another famous night for Ireland's cricketers in Grenada as they beat the reigning world champions the West Indies in the first of three T20 internationals. 

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first on a benign track at St. George's.

Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien made light work of the Windies' attack, putting on a first wicket partnership of 154 before O'Brien fell to the bowling of Duane Bravo for 48.

In the process of that first wicket stand, Ireland set a new world record score for a T20 powerplay with 93 from the first six overs.

Stirling would fall just 5-runs short of his century, but his 95 would prove more than useful and included no fewer than 8 sixes and half a dozen fours.

Once Stirling was sent to the pavillion, Irelands innings crumbled with only a further 52 runs added by the time their innings ran out.

Set a target of 209 to win, the hosts set about their business with typical swagger, hitting 33 from their first 3 overs.

But the Windies were never able to build the same traction afforded by Ireland's first-wicket stand.

Evin Lewis fell for 53 (93 for 2), while Shimron Hetmyer went for 28 (114 for 3) as the hosts began to get jittery about their job.

Josh Little proved Ireland's hero with the ball, taking 3 wickets for the concession of just 29 runs.

The Windies went into the final over of the match needing 13 runs to win, which would be cruel on an Ireland side who saw one-day victory evade them by a narrow margin in their second encounter last week.

First ball of the over saw Little draw Sherfane Rutherford into a wayward swing to long-on and down the throat of George Dockrell.

The penultimate ball saw Little tempt Bravo into angling to whipping the ball over deep midwicket only for Gareth Delaney take the catch and secure a 4-run win for Ireland.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie paid particular tribute to Dockrell (1-51), "George’s last over was brilliant – to come back after a couple of the batters got after him was great. That’s what T20 cricket is about, if you bowl one over like that you can change the game.

“It was just about as well as I’ve ever seen Paul [Stirling] bat in T20 cricket – he’s a world-class player and he’s played all around the world, he’s such as important player for us in all forms of cricket and he leads from the front, which he did today."

"It’s great to get a win obviously but you want to win a series and make history, so if we can do that in the next two games we can go home very happy."

Ireland can secure the T20 series victory with a win when the sides meet again on Saturday.

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Andrew Balbirnie Cricket Duane Bravo George Dockrell Ireland Josh Little Paul Stirling West Indies

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