Ireland’s cricketers returned to the scene of their most famous triumph and inflicted a remarkable defeat on the West Indies in Wednesday night’s Twenty20 international in Jamaica.
The reigning World Twenty20 champions were toppled by six wickets at Sabina Park as the Irish chased down a target of 117 with five balls to spare.
The joyous scenes echoed those of St Patrick’s Day 2007 on the same ground when Ireland caused arguably the biggest World Cup shock of all time by beating Pakistan.
Ed Joyce, the Sussex batsman, eased Ireland over the line with an unbeaten 40 from 49 balls. His 58-run stand for the fourth wicket with Andrew Poynter (32) tilted the game towards Ireland with Kevin O’Brien hitting the winning runs in the final over.
The victory was founded on a typically disciplined bowling and fielding performance from the Irish.
A West Indies batting line-up containing the explosive Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels could only muster 116 for eight in 20 overs.
Gayle top scored with 18 before he became one of two victims for the economical Alex Cusack (2-17). Tim Murtagh and Kevin O’Brien also took two wickets apiece while left-arm spinner George Dockrell claimed one for 15.
Ireland’s reply didn’t get off to the ideal start as captain William Porterfield fell to the fourth ball of the innings and fellow Ulsterman Paul Stirling departed in the second over to fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, a former Ireland overseas player.
Gary Wilson contributed a breezy 18 but it was that partnership between Joyce and Poynter, who struck six boundaries in a dynamic 32 from just 30 balls, that decided a thrilling contest.
The second T20 international takes place on Thursday before an ODI on Sunday.