West Indies are 1-0 up in the three-match series courtesy of their 24-run win in the series opener where debutant Shamarh Brooks sizzled and won the player of the match award.
The 33-year-old missed out on his maiden ton but was still impressed with a stroke-filled knock that powered the hosts to 269 – a target which the Irish couldn’t track down despite a valiant effort.
Brooks’ innings were needed, too, as at one point the hosts were 62 for 4 with Roston Chase having departed.
Captain Kieron Pollard’s 69 off 66 was also essential. Without that pair’s contributions, Windies could have collapsed – even to a defeat.
On the bowling front, it was a balanced effort without anyone guy jumping out. That said, Romario Shepherd and Alzarri Joseph both picked up two wickets but were expensive, whereas Akeal Hossain bowled suffocated the life out of Irish batters, giving away just 35 runs in his 10 overs for a wicket.
Having won the toss and elected to field first, it appeared that Ireland had made the right decision when they had West Indies pinned at 62 for 4.
Then, they couldn’t capitalize and instead relented. The 155-run stand with Brooks and Pollard turned the game on its head.
In reply, they lost their first wicket early but then captain Andy Balbirnie (71) and Andy McBrine stabilized the ship. After McBrine was hit on the helmet had to leave retired hurt, Harry Tector joined in and he along with Balbirnie had Ireland approach the target steadily.
At one point, the visitors were 165 for 1 in the 37th over but lost track from that point on as the soaring run rate took a toll on Irish batters and they collapsed.
Some good news for Ireland is that McBrine’s concussion has been deemed “very minor” and she should be available for the second ODI, provided that he clears a late fitness test. Meanwhile, all-rounders Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate have also returned negative Covid tests and been cleared to leave Florida and join their team in Jamaica for the remainder of the tour. It’s unlikely that they’d be cleared for the second ODI though.