West Indies entered the Super Eights of the ICC World Twenty20 by virtue of superior net run-rate after their final group league encounter against Ireland was called off due to heavy downpour at the R Premadasa Stadium,here today.
Despite both finished on a point each having lost their respective match against Australia,it was West Indies who qualified with a superior run-rate of -1.855 than Ireland’s -2.092 and will be playing the Super Eights against New Zealand,England and hosts Sri Lanka.
The only worry for Darren Sammy’s men will be entering the next stage without having won a single match among the eight teams that will be fighting it out in the Super Eights.
A disciplined effort by West Indies bowlers saw them restrict Ireland to a modest 129 for six in the rain-curtailed final Group B match.
The match was reduced to 19-overs-a-side affair after steady drizzle delayed the proceedings by 50 minutes.
Chris Gayle was the most successful bowler with figures of two for 21 while Ravi Rampaul,captain Darren Sammy,Fidel Edwards and Sunil Narine got a wicket apiece after the West Indian skipper opted to field.
Ireland captain William Porterfield was again out of the very first ball of the match. After Shane Watson got rid off him with a perfect bouncer in their last game,it was Fidel Edwards’ turn to clean him up with a lethal yorker which he failed to dig out.
Paul Stirling (19) and Ed Joyce (17) then hit a few lusty blows as Ireland reached 33 for one after five overs when steady drizzle stopped play.
After a break of nearly an hour,the proceedings started once again and off-spinner Narine removed Joyce. It was an off-break which saw the left-hander getting bowled round his legs.
Stirling,who was in a mood to hit every ball out of sight tried to pull one from Sammy but only managed to offer a simple catch to Gayle at mid-wicket.
At 37 for three,Niall O’Brien and Gary Wilson got together and added 33 for the fourth wicket before bowling change by Sammy did the trick.
Gayle was brought in to bowl his fast off-breaks. Wilson,who scored 21 with help of three boundaries went for an ambitious cut shot but only managed to edge one to Denesh Ramdin behind the stumps.
The highlight of that dismissal was that of a happy Gayle breaking into an impromptu jig that resembled ‘bhangra’.
The O’Brien brothers then got together. Niall played the hook shot off Andre Russell’s bowling that fetched him a six while Kevin lofted a length delivery from Edwards over long-off.
At 96 for 4,it was Gayle,who bowled an accurate delivery right in the blockhole to Niall that disturbed his off-stump. The Irish batsman scored 25 off 21 balls with the help of a solitary six.
Kevin followed suit when his pre-meditated shuffle outside off-stump to a Rampaul delivery saw his off-stump uprooted.
Nigel Jones (14) and Trent Johnston (15) then added 22 runs for the unbroken seventh-wicket partnership to take Ireland forward.