Mention Ireland and the West Indies, and everyone immediately talks about Sion Mills and 1969. People still find it incredible that the Windies were rolled over for just 25 - it has become the stuff of folklore and legend - Ireland's equivalent of England winning the World Cup in 1966.
However it tends to be forgotten that Ireland have also beaten them on two other occasions, way back in 1928, but more recently in 2004, when the Irish chased down 292 to win by 6 wickets, with 19 balls to spare.
A young Dwayne Bravo scored an unbeaten hundred off just 65 balls to help his side post what looked like a daunting total. It looked like the Irish would restrict them to around 240 before his late onslaught. Trent Johnston had taken the early wickets of Chris Gayle and Shivirine Chanderpaul, while John Mooney bowled well to take out, Smith, Powell, and Sammy. It was Andre Botha however, who took the prize scalp of Brian Charles Lara, for just a single, as he finished with 2 for 67. The influence of Kyle Mc Callan shouldn't be under estimated either, as he conceded just 33 runs in an economical 10 over spell.
What awaited the capacity crowd was then a display of controlled aggression and fine strokeplay from two batsmen at the top of their powers. Skipper Jason Molins and Jeremy Bray, who 12 months earlier had put on 183 to beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets, put on yet another century stand, and Ireland were well on their way to another famous win.
Jeremy Bray takes up the story, 'We weren't fazed by chasing such a big score. We've got talented players right down the order, and it's no secret that our strength is the depth and quality of our batting. They were probably a bit over confident, and that helped. Myself and Jason just played our natural games, and it just snowballed from there. A few came out of the middle right away and our confidence just grew. We had put on a 100 after 11 overs, and that's when we really started to believe the win was on. We had faced all their bowlers, and saw that there was nothing to be afraid of.
I took 16 off the first over bowled by Rampaul, and the momentum just continued. That set the tone for the whole innings, and we were just able to bat, without getting too concerned as the winning post got near. The runs kept on flowing, and we never got bogged down once. The atmosphere in the dressing room after was just incredible. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it. We probably should have beaten them the game before, when Lara wasn't given out early on, and he went on to get a hundred, but we happily made amends.'
Looking forward to the World Cup clash, Bray realizes it won't be easy to get a fourth win, 'It's going to be very hard facing them on their home turf. We've lost the surprise factor, as they will know just what we are capable of. The grounds are pretty small, and with their batting, it's going to be tough. We can only play our own game, and if clicks on the day, then who knows, anything can happen.'
All rounder Andrew White was at the crease with Niall O' Brien when the running wins were scored that day - White had earned a reputation of being ‘a finisher' in the squad, having been at the crease when Ireland also beat Surrey -.He says that the belief installed in them by coach Adrian Birrell, had been a primary factor.
'When we came off the field, the heads were a bit down after we had been carted around a bit by Dwayne Bravo. The wicket though was good, and the outfield was quick. I remember Adi saying to us as we trooped off -‘let's get ready to chase these runs down'- and that set the mood in the camp. The guys stuck their chests out, and you could see that the belief and confidence flowing into everyone. The start that we got from Jason and Jeremy was outstanding. Not just the runs they scored, but the manner and tempo in which they were achieved was so vital. It's funny the way things turned out that day, meant I was there again at the end.
Niall O' Brien gave another outstanding performance, hitting an unbeaten 58, which was enough to win the MOM award. I went to the crease with 65 still needed, and thought to myself, I've got to get 30 of them. That's what transpired, and it was a great feeling to be there at the finish.'
Irish Coach Adrian Birrell speaks with immense pride about that win, 'It was a fantastic showcase for Irish cricket, and let people know what we were capable of. It was a full strength West Indies team, although they weren't playing particularly well at that time. They did however subsequently go to England where they won The Champions Trophy. My abiding memory that day is of a wonderful run chase. We went out with the intention of always keeping up with the required rate, and with wickets in hand, the match went more and more in our favour. I knew we had the ability - we should have beaten them in the previous game, and that was one I was particularly sore about, and endured a sleepless night, because I was so angry at the way we had performed. 292 was only a par score, as the conditions were ideal for batting. We needed to play above par cricket, and we managed to do that in some style.'
With nine of the starting eleven in the win still in the World Cup squad, Birrell will be hammering in the point that more history can be created in Jamaica, 'We are certainly capable of producing another win. It was a massive performance winning with 19 balls to spare, and with more or less the same players, they will have the belief, and more importantly the knowledge that they can reproduce it on the 23rd of March.'