Paul Stirling had a day out.
Paul Stirling had a day out.

World record T20 madness stuns champs

Cricket minnows Ireland have claimed yet another huge scalp, sending a shot across the bow ahead of the T20 World Cup, defeating defending World Champions the West Indies.

Led by a stunning 95 off 47 from Paul Stirling, Ireland claimed its second ever win over the former powerhouse and 2016 T20 World Cup champions.

Adding to the impressive victory for Ireland was the world record T20 International power play score of 0/93 in the first six overs.

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While the West Indies were without the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell who are off playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, the win is another big one for Ireland against a team seemingly built for the shortest form of the game.

Ireland were granted Test status in 2017 but haven't previously been handed a regular schedule against top tier nations to test their skills.

But this might be changing in 2020, the country will played Afghanistan, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan and England in the lead up the T20 World Cup.

The nation, who came onto the world stage in the 2007 World Cup with wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh, have slowly developed over the years with eye opening performances in big tournaments but have largely played against associate nations.

Paul Stirling went absolutely nuts.
Paul Stirling went absolutely nuts.

Ireland's world record start saw Stirling bring up his half century off 20 balls and scoring 67 off just 25 balls by the end of the six over power play.



By the end of the 12th over, Ireland had plundered 0/153 with Stirling on 94 and Kevin O'Brien on 48 off 30 balls.

O'Brien was soon out without adding to his score, before Stirling followed for 95, top edging a slog sweep to be caught on the boundary.

He ended with six fours and eight sixes in a powerhouse performance.




The run rate slowed over the next seven overs from over 12 to 10.4 but it was still good enough for Ireland to equal its third highest total in T20 cricket of 7/208.

The 154-run stand between O'Brien and Stirling was also the nation's highest ever in T20 cricket.

The West Indies chase got off to a quick start with Evin Lewis helping the side to 93 when he was dismissed for 53 off 29 balls at the end of the ninth over but with three overs left, the home side still needed 43.

But a horror over that went for 27 made it 16 off 12.

While it was a nervous finish, Ireland held on, taking three wickets and keeping the Windies to just 11 runs to claim the four run victory.

Darren Bravo was a last over dismissal and cut a forlorn figure.
Darren Bravo was a last over dismissal and cut a forlorn figure.

Stirling said it was a confidence building victory.

"It was a really good pitch," Stirling said. "We probably put about a par score on, which showed in the end. I wouldn't say we were nervous, but they seemed to be up with the rate all the way through, until it flipped in the last over. A huge difference in mindset (between T20s and ODIs). Here you have the chance to express yourself. In 50-over cricket you have to bat a little longer. It's quite a daunting task when you see the big lads come in, how hard and how far you hit it, so it was important that if we got a wicket, we put a squeeze on in the next few overs."







The remaining two matches in the T20 series take place in St Kitts and Nevis, on Saturday and Sunday.

Ireland lost the recent ODI series between the teams 3-0.

- with AP