A poor batting display saw Ireland crash to just 68 all out, to lose their opening encounter of the World Twenty20 by 70 runs to the hosts West Indies. It had all looked so promising at the half-way stage, as a determined bowling performance, backed up some enthusiastic fielding had restricted West Indies to a very gettable 138-9.
However any notions of an Irish shock were quickly dispelled as William Porterfield, Paul Stirling and Niall O'Brien departed in the first 11 balls of the reply. Ravi Rampaul (3-17), Kemar Roach (1-12), Dwayne Bravo (2-5) and Darren Sammy (3-8) all troubled the Irish batsmen with their extra pace, and strangled the life, rendering the side virtually strokeless.
Just three boundaries were hit in the whole of the Irish innings, and Gary Wilson (17), was the sole batsman to reach double figures. Indeed the other ten batsmen managed just 32 runs between them, with 19 extras being the top contributor in the innings. The total of 68 was the second worst in the history of T20 international cricket, and it was an understandably downbeat Ireland after such a display in front of a capacity crowd, and watched on tv by 180 countries.
There were positives in the bowling and fielding though. Ireland caught everything that came their way, and in George Dockrell, they have unearthed a real gem that should serve them well for the next 15 years. Dockrell (3-16) shone in the bright floodlights of Providence Stadium, dismissing Sarwan (24), Fletcher (19) and Deonarine (1). Suddenly an ominous 77 for 2 had become 93 for 6 with just four overs remaining.
Darren Sammy then went on the offensive, striking two sixes and two fours in a whirlwind 30 from just 17 balls, to get West Indies up to 138. Andre Botha (2-7) dismissed both Sammy the dangerous Kieron Pollard, repaying the faith coach Phil Simmons had placed in him, and his performance will give his confidence a timely boost.
Alex Cusack (2-19), and Boyd Rankin (2-35) were the other wicket takers, with Cusack's juggling catch to dismiss Dwayne Bravo (18), a wonderful highlight. Ireland have now got to pick themselves up for the "local derby' with England on Tuesday, 4 May. They know themselves there is much work to do ahead of that clash, but aren't ruling out a famous victory. As manager Roy Torrens says, "We will certainly respect them, but don't fear them."