DEADLY Donemana double act of William Porterfield and young Andy McBrine played a central role as Ireland chased down a 300-plus total to get their World Cup campaign off to a sensational start by defeating the West Indies in Nelson on Monday.
Skipper Porterfield shared an opening partnership of 71 with Paul Stirling chasing a winning target of 305 at the saxton Oval, that after surprise inclusion McBrine had starred both with ball in hand and in the field.
A superb piece of fielding from McBrine saw Darren Bravo run out without scoring and the North West Warriors spinner completed a magnificent bowling spell of 10 overs for the loss of just 26 runs.
That telling contribution, which began with the talented 21-year-old bowling a maiden over against the formidable Chris Gayle, was duly recognised by the skipper at the post-match press conference.
“I thought he bowled fantastically well. He’s been doing that now on a regular basis, and showing what he can do, and not only in the nets, but in any games he gets the opportunity in,” said Porterfield.
“And to come out there as well, and it’s not the biggest boundary that he’s bowling to. And to come off with figures, bowling a couple in the power play as well, come off with figures of 0 for 26 was a great effort.”
Ireland successfully chased down their target with four wickets and 25 balls to spare. It was only the fifth time in World Cup history that a 300-plus total had been successfully chased.
George Dockrell was the pick of the Irish bowlers in claiming three for 50 and after Porterfield helped get Ireland’s reply off on a sound footing, Stirling, Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien saw the upstarts home with 92, 84 and 79 runs respectively.
Reflecting on another famous victory for the Irish, Porterfield couldn’t contain his delight.
“I think the way we played there throughout those 100 overs was great. It was a very deserved win. One of the most pleasing things, as well, was how we chased the runs down, that intent we had right throughout the innings.
“But the way the lads rocked up, there was a confident mood within the camp. And the way we started with the ball, which we haven’t necessarily done in the last couple of practice games, we were right on the money for the first ten overs.
“And we carried that on throughout. And picking up wickets was obviously crucial in any form of cricket. But in this form of cricket just the way teams are set up coming down the back end, it can be very difficult. And I thought the lads stuck at it very well.”
Monday’s victory has heightened expectations that Ireland can reach the knockout stages of the competition with some predicting that two more victories in their remaining five games may be suffice.
Porterfield’s insisted the win over the Windies would count for little if his team didn’t post a second successive victory against UAE next Wednesday.
“We’ve spoken about every game being a two pointer for us. And going out there to win every game,” he continued.
“That’s one box ticked if you like, and that’s two points in the bag. But we’ve got to now go away and prepare for the UAE. And every game subsequent to that.”