O'Brien leads Irish to win over West Indies

West Indies 292-7 Ireland 295-4 Ireland win by six wickets
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The Independent Online

West Indies slumped to a devastating six-wicket defeat at the hands of amateurs Ireland yesterday, on the eve of the NatWest Triangular Series.

West Indies slumped to a devastating six-wicket defeat at the hands of amateurs Ireland yesterday, on the eve of the NatWest Triangular Series.

Thirty five years after Ireland famously bowled Clive Lloyd's West Indies side out for just 25 in Sion Mills, County Tyrone, Brian Lara's side became the latest in a string of top teams to fall foul of the giantkillers from the Emerald Isle.

Last year Ireland beat Zimbabwe by 10 wickets and earlier this season they dumped Surrey out of the C&G Trophy with a five-wicket triumph at Clontarf. But this victory will eclipse both those triumphs.

Dwayne Bravo was the hero of the West Indies innings. The Trinidadian youngster's unbeaten century helped the tourists to a healthy 292 for 7 from their 50 overs - but it was not enough as Ireland won with 19 balls to spare.

The West Indies' captain, Brian Lara, who batted down at No 8 and scored just one run, had called for an improvement at the top of the order after Wednesday's comfortable 96-run victory over the Irish.

However, the opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul was an early casualty, snapped up behind the stumps by Niall O'Brien off the bowling of Trent Johnston for two. Chris Gayle also fell to Johnstonbut a third wicket stand of 72 between Devon Smith and Ricardo Powell steadied any nerves.

However, it was Bravo's century that helped set a difficult target for the hosts. He hit 12 boundaries, including three sixes, to score precisely 100 off just 65 balls.

Johnston, an Australian professional, recorded Ireland's best figures with 2 for 29 while the home-grown medium pacer John Mooney's three wickets came at a price of nearly seven an over.

Ireland chased their target with gusto - captain Jason Mollins and his fellow opener Jeremy Bray scored rapidly in a first-wicket partnership of 111 before Mollins was bowled by Ravi Rampaul for 66. Bray added a further 50 runs in a quick-fire second-wicket stand with Andre Botha. Botha went for 15 and Bray followed soon afterwards for 71, stumped by Ridley Jacobs.

However, the 22-year-old wicketkeeper O'Brien, who was devastated after he was dismissed for two on Wednesday, made amends with 58 not out, playing a wide range of shots in a fourth-wicket stand with Peter Gillespie, who was run out on 25 as Ireland inched towards their target. Andrew White then joined O'Brien for a 57-run partnership which steered Ireland to their improbable victory.

* Warwickshire have been dealt a blow as Heath Streak, their match-winner last week, will miss the visit of Lancashire to Stratford for today's County Championship First Division match. The Zimbabwean, who took 13 wickets against Northamptonshire, faces three weeks on the sidelines with a pulled stomach muscle.

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