West Indies and Ireland conclude their brief ODI series on Sunday when the two sides move to Grenada for the last game, ahead of a T20 series beginning in this part of the world next week, as the Irish continue to look to show their worth at this level.
West Indies landed the series in fine style on Thursday when they got home in a cliff-hanger of a contest, but Ireland will have taken a lot from defeat in that match and will be out to get their name on the scoresheet here.
It was anything but a flawless performance for the West Indies in the second game of the series, and in many ways the old Windies woes came flooding back in that they just can’t seem to rein themselves in and play the situation in front of them with the bat. Admittedly they weren’t helped much by the rain on a couple of occasions, and it is hard to go on and off and not know how long you’ll be out there for, but even so they will have been disappointed with their batting effort.
That said, from a position of seemingly no hope, they deserve credit for believing in themselves and finding a way to win, even though it looked like they got a lot of help from the third umpire along the way. The positive for them in both performances has been the way that their bowling attack has gone. They have had Ireland under early pressure in both matches and haven’t really ever let them off the hook at any stage.
I think it is fair to say that Ireland will have been disappointed with their display in the opening match of the series. They didn’t bat very well at all and gave themselves seemingly little hope of coming out on top on a decent wicket. That changed in the second game, where again they weren’t perfect, but this time they were able to get a score on the board, and it so nearly proved to be enough to level the series.
It probably wasn’t enough to begin with in terms of runs on the board but my word did Ireland fight hard and they could easily have won the game had a tight third umpire decision go their way. They won’t be giving up the fight here just because the series has gone. Every match they can win at this level shows they belong at it and that is no small thing for them. There is also the T20s coming up to prepare for and build some confidence for.
It remains to be seen whether West Indies will rest anyone for this final game with the series won. You wouldn’t think they would as they are looking to re-establish themselves under Phil Simmons, but anyone with a knock might sit out.
Ireland have the chance to get some overs into the legs of those who need it or some time in the middle for those who haven’t yet had as much as they would like, so maybe Gary Wilson will come into the team here.
I’m not going to go too mad for this final match. To all intents and purposes it is only a dead rubber after al and it is taking place on a ground which doesn’t get used for major cricket very often so I’m going to be using the game as largely a watching brief for the first T20 that is being held here later in the week. There is one bet that jumps out at me having watched the first two matches though so I’ll occupy myself with a small punt.
It comes in the top West Indies bowler market where the 10/3 on Alzarri Joseph looks good to me. In the two matches in the series to date he has the identical record of 4/32 in his two spells and that has been enough to lead the bowling charts on both occasions. His coach said after the second game that he is maturing into an excellent cricketer and that sort of thing boosts a player. We saw his talent in the IPL last season when he took six wickets in an innings and so far Ireland have had few answers for his skills. I see no reason why that won’t continue here.
Back A.Joseph Top West Indies Bowler for a 2/10 stake at 4.33 with 888sport