Wash-out ends Ireland’s hopes

The damp vaporous stirrings from the Indian Ocean continued to be an unwelcome guest in the ICC World Twenty20.

And as the monsoon winds swept across Colombo, a match was abandoned and Ireland watched its dreams die. Persistent rain drew in an early close to its Group B clash against the West Indies at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Monday night and the washed out climax meant that the men from the Caribbean qualified for the Super Eights on the basis of better net run-rate (-1.85).

Even otherwise, Ireland (-2.09) would have been in a state of worry after it mustered 129 for six in 19 overs during an innings marked by a 54-minute rain-break and the lethargy of its batsmen.

The contest began with Darren Sammy opting to field first on winning the toss. The West Indies captain reaped an instantaneous reward as his counterpart William Porterfield fell in the very first ball, yorked by Fidel Edwards.

Ireland’s initial runs came through thick edges as Ed Joyce and Paul Stirling nicked Edwards for fours. The first authentic shot was when Joyce punched Ravi Rampaul and, as if on cue, Stirling tucked into Sammy. The skies then opened up and the tireless ground-staff had to bring on the covers twice.

On resumption, the match was reduced to 19-overs per side, and Sunil Narine promptly bowled Joyce around his legs. More despair shadowed Ireland as Stirling miscued a pull off Sammy and though Gary Wilson lofted the West Indies skipper past mid-off, more work had to be done if Ireland fancied its chances of posting a challenging total.

Chris Gayle, the bowler, then turned up much to the approval and amusement of the fans, and he lent entertainment in his own inimitable fashion. Gayle had Wilson caught behind and launched into a unique dance in celebration..

Niall and Kevin O’Brien joined hands but nothing exceptional happened. Niall’s miscued shot sailed for six off Andre Russell before Gayle slipped one through his defences and launched into his dance again.

Ireland’s lone note of resistance was when Kevin hoisted a six off Edwards, but once Ravi Rampaul knocked down the big-hitter’s timber, the fight ebbed away from the minnows.

And the sixes — one each by Trent Johnson and Nigel Jones — towards the closing stages of the innings, were inadequate to cover up their top-order’s bankruptcy.

The West Indies had replaced the two Dwaynes — Smith and Bravo — with Darren Bravo and Russell in the playing eleven and its fortunes remained steady though the rains kept adding textures to the match’s narrative.

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