West Indies will take on Ireland in the first ODI of the three-match series. The encounter took place at the Sabina Park in Jamaica on Saturday (January 8). With prominent players returning to the side, West Indies are looking a formidable side and are touted favourites for this series. Kieron Pollard will lead the home team, whereas Shai Hope will serve as his deputy.
On the other hand, Ireland will see this as an opportunity to upset a strong West Indies team. Notably, the Irish side didn’t enjoy the greatest of series when they travelled to the West Indies in 2020. They failed to put up a fight and suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat in the ODI leg. Nevertheless, the visitors have some prominent players in the ranks who can trouble the home team. After West Indies won the 1st ODI quite convincingly, it was believed that the three-match ODI series would be a one-sided affair. However, it wasn’t the case in the second ODI.
Ireland fought their way to 237, on the back of a half-century from opener Paul Stirling. William Porterfield, Kevin O’Brien and Simmi Singh also scored around 30 to help the team to a respectable total.
Alzarri Joseph, once again, was the top bowler for West Indies while Sheldon Cottrell picked up three wickets. Chasing a below-par total, West Indies had made a mess of it at one point with them struggling at 76-4. A sound partnership between Nicholas Pooran and Kieron Pollard then put them back on track.But the duo’s dismissal threatened to put them out of the game. Unexpectedly, Hayden Walsh Jr and Joseph stuck in there for a 50+ partnership. After surviving a couple of run-out scares, Sheldon Cottrell muscled the second-last ball of the match for maximum to take the team to a victory by just one wicket.
Simi Singh was the standout bowler for Ireland while Andy McBrine and Barry McCarthy also picked up two wickets each while being economical. West Indies have already won the series but Ireand can take some heart from how they played in the second ODI. The visitors will look to make the final scoreline 2-1.
WEST INDIES TEAM NEWS
Jason Holder is available for this final match, having been rested for the first two games, but West Indies may look to hand Keemo Paul another chance after he sat the last game out – Romario Shepherd and Khary Pierre replacing him and Roston Chase. Sunil Ambris could come into the team too, as the only unused player in the squad so far.
WEST INDIES KEY PLAYERS
Shai Hope: Not at his best so far in this series, but he was one of West Indies’ stand-out batsmen in the previous series against India and his ODI record is outstanding.
Alzarri Joseph: The paceman has taken 4-32 in both matches so far. His bowling figures in the second match included 46 dot balls, while his 16 runs at number ten proved vital too.
Sheldon Cottrell: Took 3-51 last time out to move to five wickets in this series, before his dramatic late intervention with the bat – hitting a six off the penultimate ball – to seal a dramatic victory.
WEST INDIES TEAM FORM
West Indies have got back to winning ways in this series, having lost to India previously. Evin Lewis took the lead in the first match with an unbeaten 99, after Alzarri Joseph’s four wickets with the ball, before Joseph repeated his trick last time out. The chase was less smooth, but Nicholas Pooran hit 52 to keep them in contention and number 11 Sheldon Cottrell hit the penultimate ball for six to win the game.
WEST INDIES PREDICTED PLAYING 11:
- Evin Lewis
- Shai Hope (wk)
- Sunil Ambris
- Brandon King
- Nicholas Pooran
- Kieron Pollard (c)
- Roston Chase
- Keemo Paul
- Sheldon Cottrell
- Alzarri Joseph
- Hayden Walsh Jr
IRELAND TEAM NEWS & PLAYING 11
IRELAND TEAM NEWS
Gareth Delany was out for 12 and bowled two expensive overs last time out and he could be replaced by either James McCollum or Craig Young this time out, having made his ODI debut in the first game of the series. Gary Wilson is also unused, with Ireland having fielded the same team in both matches so far.
IRELAND KEY PLAYERS
Paul Stirling: Led the batting last time out as he hit 63 from 79 balls at the top of the order – his 24th ODI half-century, to go with the eight hundreds he has hit in the format. Andrew Balbirnie: The new Irish captain has two low scores so far, but he has proved plenty of times that he is capable of big innings.
Boyd Rankin: A wicket apiece in each of the first two matches for the giant seamer, coupled with some good economic bowling both times, have reiterated his worth to this Irish team.
IRELAND TEAM FORM
Ireland were much improved last time out, having been bowled out for 180 in the first game of the series, with Paul Stirling leading the way with the bat. He hit 63 in a total of 237/9 for the Irish. In reply, they had West Indies 148/7 in the 29th over and then claimed the ninth wicket with six runs still to score. They failed to press home their winning position, however – missing two run out chances before losing to a six off the penultimate ball.
IRELAND PLAYING XIS:
- William Porterfield
- Paul Stirling
- Andy Balbirnie (c)
- Harry Tector
- George Dockrell
- Lorcan Tucker (wk)
- Curtis Campher
- Mark Adair
- Simi Singh
- Barry McCarthy
- Ben White
- Joshua Little
West Indies vs Ireland, 1st ODI
Venue: Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Date & Time: January 8th at 8:00 PM IST and at 9:30 AM local time
As Sabina Park hasn’t hosted a match since a while, the track would be pretty fresh. The pitch tends to favour the fast bowlers in the initial part of the game. Hence, the batters need to tackle the new ball with precision. However, the conditions will ease out for the batters as the game progresses. Hence, the toss-winning captain must elect to bowl first.
Average score: 233 (38 ODIs at Sabina Park)
Record of chasing teams: Won – 22, Lost – 14
WEST INDIES VS IRELAND HEAD TO HEAD
Matches– 12, West Indies – 10, Ireland – 1, N/R- 1
PROBABLE TOP PERFORMERS
SHAI HOPE – WEST INDIES
Shai Hope belongs to the rare category of West Indies batters, who isn’t known for his brute strength. He instead emphasizes on staying at the crease for long. Owing to the same, he averages over 50 in this format of the game. His strike rate, which is 74.78, is something which can be improved. However, Hope has given West Indies solid starts more often than not in ODIs.
ALZARRI JOSEPH – WEST INDIES
Alzarri Joseph is most likely to top the bowling charts as he has been a wicket-taking machine in ODIs. The right-arm pacer can set the speed-gun on fire and the bucket of variations in his arsenal makes him even more effective. Hence, Ireland batters must beware of him.
TODAY’S MATCH PREDICTION: WEST INDIES TO WIN THE MATCH.