World champions Windies shocked by Ireland by four runs in T20 opener

Sheldon Cottrell sending down a delivery

Kesrick Williams doing warm-up drills Sheldon Cottrell sending down a delivery

DWAYNE Bravo could have had the flawless return to the West Indies after more than three years away from global cricket, but Ireland pulled off a thrilling four-run win over West Indies, in the first T20 worldwide in Grenada, on Wednesday.

After leading the bowling attack with 2/28 in four overs to help limit Ireland to 208/7 in 20 overs, Bravo came out to bat with West Indies needing 15 off ten deliveries.

Needing 15 to win, all-rounder Josh Little (3-29) got rid of the unsafe Dwayne Bravo, one of two wickets to fall in the last over.

There were then plenty of times during the chase when West Indies - who whitewashed Ireland 3-0 in the preceding ODI series - looked poised for victory, including when Bravo belted the second ball of the final over for six.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first on a benign track at St. George's.

"Everyone is ecstatic, we came so close in that second ODI (lost by one wicket) and it maybe affected us in that third ODI, so to show the bottle and come out against one of the top teams in T20 cricket and get a win was great for the vibe of the team", said Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie.

Evin Lewis top-scored with 53, Josh Little ending with figures of 3-29.

Stirling raced to his half century in just 20 balls and smashed eight sixes and six fours in his 95 off 47 balls, his highest ever T20 score.

West Indian captain Kieron Pollard hit a breezy 31 from 15 balls, threatening to take the game away from Ireland.

Openers Stirling and O'Brien got Ireland off to a flying start, before O'Brien was dismissed for 48 midway through the 13th over, having hit two sixes and four fours off 32 balls.

In the process of that first wicket stand, Ireland set a new world record score for a T20 powerplay with 93 from the first six overs.

Stirling picked up the player of the match award and was delighted to come out on the right side of a tight contest.

Ireland have earned a thrilling four-run victory in their T20 opener against the West Indies in Grenada.

Bravo, playing an global match for the first time since September 2016, was taken for 18 runs by Stirling in his first over. The bowler conceded 17 runs but recovered to end with 2 for 28, in the end playing a pivotal role in restricting Ireland to 208 for 7.

But the hosts must now win Saturday's second T20I, in Basseterre, to take the series to a decider at the same venue on Sunday.

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