T20 World Cup: Balbirnie says Ireland’s West Indies have beaten ‘our best’ in T20


He was greeted by Captain Andrew Balbirnie Ireland won the nine-cap T20 World Cup against two-time champions West Indies because it is the team’s biggest day in the format.

Major wins starring Gareth Delany and Paul Stirling secured Ireland a place in the second stage of the T20 World Cup for the first time since 2009.

“It was pretty complete, all our bowlers were really good,” he said.

“We played excellently and Lorcan [Tucker] and as Stirlo finished it with such ease.’

Despite scoring big one-day scalps over the last 15 years, Ireland struggled in the shorter format in a disappointing fashion in the opening stages of last year’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Namibia’s surprise defeat.

However, Ireland’s squad appears to have been rejuvenated with the arrival of new coach Heinrich Malan, who has encouraged his charges to play a more aggressive brand of cricket.

“There was that disappointment last year, but I’m not sure we played the kind of cricket that allowed us to get to the next stage. We’re in a better place as a team now,” said the Ireland skipper.

“I never doubted Paul Stirling”

Ireland were poised for another early exit in this year’s tournament 31 run defeat against Zimbabwe on monday

However, a Amazing win against Scotland has given life to hopes and Friday’s win against the West Indies means Malan’s team will be looking for more big results when they take on hosts Australia, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in the Super 12 stage.

Despite his heroics in recent seasons in England’s franchise tournaments such as The Hundred, Stirling has struggled somewhat in Ireland’s recent outings, but the Belfastman did well with an unbeaten 48-ball 66 in Hobart as the Irish chased them down with ease. Target 146-5 with 15 balls to spare.

“I don’t think I ever doubted Paul Stirling,” insisted the Ireland skipper, whose quick-fire 37 helped him and his fellow opener put up 73 for the opening wicket in 7.2 overs.

“He’s such a classy player, person, key member of this team and will be for a long time, has been for a long time and he’s just a big, big-game player.”

As Delany’s brilliant figures of 3-16 dismissed Evin Lewis, Rovman Powell and West Indies skipper Nicholas Pooran fell short of the two-time champions, his partner Simi Singh took the wicket of opener Johnson Charles.

Balbirnie’s quickfire 37 – which included three sixes and three fours – helped Ireland post 73 for the first wicket in just 7.2 overs in Hobart.

The Ireland skipper says his side’s summer performances – despite seven straight defeats – have helped them secure tough games for this tournament.

That losing streak included tight T20 sides against India and South Africa and Balbirnie said the teams’ performances, despite the loss, had given the players confidence.

“It’s been a big thing for us not to worry too much about results but to focus on our performance.

“Playing our old school style would not have been successful, but by trying to play an exciting brand of cricket, we can compete with them.”