KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC- A herculean face saving effort put history on hold allowing West Indies to pull off an 11 run victory over persistent Ireland and draw the two match T20 international series at Sabina Park here today.
Captain Darren Sammy grabbed three wickets to lead a late counter attack as West Indies stormed back from a poor batting performance to deprive the visitors of a first series win against a Test playing nation.
Ireland restricted West Indies to an embarrassing 96 for 9 in 20 overs, their second lowest total in completed innings, since making 79 for 7 against Zimbabwe in 2010.
The visitors, at one stage, appeared to be inching to victory until Sammy’s die-hard display, a three wicket haul in the middle overs which sent their effort into a tail spin.
Ireland had slumped to 22 for three when Gary Wilson arrived and occupied the crease long enough to move the game gradually away from the host.
Wilson was the inspiration to the run chase with a gutsy top score of 35 and counting four boundaries while carefully compiling his innings.
However an unpopular decision by Sammy to bring Dwayne Bravo back into the attack for a second spell paid off with the wicket of Wilson.
As the crowd voiced their disapproval at Bravo’s return Wilson went for a huge shot but ended up hitting the ball high into the air for the Trinidadian all-rounder to settle under it.
Sammy had Andrew Poynter caught for two, bowled Kevin O’Brien for three and had Stuart Thompson caught for seven.
West Indies raised their game in the field clawing their way back as Ireland subsided under a combined bowling effort which saw a wicket each for Krishmar Santokie, Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Bravo.
The only other Irish batsman to reach double figures was Ed Joyce who scored 10.
Earlier, Alex Cusack with an outstanding four wicket haul rocked the top order and the tail end after West Indies were sent in by Ireland who won the toss.
Cusack, a right arm fast medium bowler, removed the openers after a 27 run stand and the Caribbean side never recovered.
Andre Fletcher, replacement for Chris Gayle who was ruled out with a minor niggle, top scored with 19 including two sixes and was Cusack’s first scalp, caught attempting to play square.
Dwayne Smith was caught at point for 11, Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo scored 10 each, Lendl Simmons 12 and Sunil Narine 12 not out, the only batsmen reaching double figures.
Cusack finished with his best T20 figures of four wickets for eleven runs including tail enders Denesh Ramdin and Samuel Badree for five runs each.
Sammy was awarded man-of- the- match for leading the fight back by taking three for 22 while Alex Cusack was picked as the man of the series.
Both teams meet in the lone One Day International (ODI) match on Sunday.