Paul Stirling showed his class once again as he top scored for Ireland during the course of this famous victory © Getty Images
Paul Stirling showed his class once again as he top scored for Ireland during the course of this famous victory © Getty Images

It was on St Patrick’s day in 2007 World Cup, when Ireland were truly recognised as a force to reckon with. Beating Pakistan on that day was probably a fluke, but since then Ireland have enhanced their reputation further and became the strongest associate nation by some distance withing few years. They beat their big brother England in the next World Cup. And now on February 16, 2015 they have added another feather on their cap by achieving a clinical four wicket victory against West Indies in their opening game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. This is also their first victory against the two time World Champions and this time this victory can’t be termed as a fluke. Thanks to this win, Ireland are now placed in number three in the Pool B points table. READ: Upsetting big boys will be the key agenda for Ireland

Though West Indies had struggled in recent times, but they came into this game as the clear favourites. The whole complexion of the match changed as soon as Irish skipper William Porterfield won the toss on a sunny day at Nelson and decided to chase. West Indies needed a solid start to put Ireland in the backfoot, but instead of that the Irish opening bowlers gave nothing away to the attacking pair of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith. Catch the live score card of the Ireland vs West Indies, Pool B match here

That tight opening spell resulted the wicket of Smith, which is followed by a acrobatic run-out of Darren Bravo. Suddenly West Indies were 31 for two. Then Gayle along with Marlon Samuels steadied the ship. But then came the phase when the Caribbean boys lost Gayle, Samuels and Denesh Ramdin to the left-arm spin of George Dockrell in quick successions. West Indies 87 for five. At that time even 200 was looking quite difficult. But the Lendl Simmons- Darren Sammy pair had other ideas. They took the attack to the opposition and put up a 154 run partnership. Though Sammy missed miss out on hundred by 11 runs, but Simmons reached there in just 83 balls. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: SCHEDULE & MATCH DETAILS

Thanks to those two innings and a finishing touch by Andre Russell, West Indies crossed the 300-run mark. This was the fifth consecutive game in this World Cup in which the score of 300 has been achieved by the team who batted first. ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: POINTS TABLE

Ireland started their chase very professionally. There were no sign of nerves among the Irish batsmen. Their openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling looked very comfortable against the Windies pacer. Especially Stirling were going all guns blazing. He used the extra pace of Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor and scored boundaries at will. West Indies also over bowled the short ball and Stirling has taken the full advantage of it. After the first 10 overs, Ireland were sitting pretty with 61 for no loss.

It was Chris Gayle who broke the opening partnership with the wicket of Portefield. That wicket could have been given the Calypso boys the opening which they were looking for. The experienced Ed Joyce then took over and just dominated the bowling. The pair just took the game away from West Indies with a partnership of 86 ball 106. Unfortunately both batsmen narrowly missed their tons but they did their job. Finally Nail O’Brian, who played the match winning knock against Pakistan in 2007 World Cup game again showed his value and finished the game for the Irish boys. Though there was bit of wobble towards the end, but it was too late for West Indies to make a comeback into the game.

In the context of this Pool, this victory is very crucial for Ireland. By beating a ‘Big team’ on this group, the Porterfield’s boys have certainly placed their bid for qualifying for the quarter-finals. For West Indies, now the path will be more tougher. But before everything they need a self-introspection, otherwise the Winindies will go down, thick and fast.

Brief scores:

West Indies 304 for 7 in 50 overs (Lendl Simmons 102, Darren Sammy 89 ; George 50 for 3) beat Ireland 307 for 6 (Paul Stirling 92, Ed Joyce 84, Nail O’Brian 79*; Jerome Taylor 3 for 71) by 4 wickets.

Man of the match: Paul Stirling

Full Scorecard

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Complete Coverage

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)