Captain Darren Bravo and exciting all-rounder Justin Greaves both struck half-centuries as CWI President’s XI dealt a blow to Ireland’s confidence ahead of next week’s start of the three-match one-day series against the West Indies, with a convincing three-wicket win on Saturday.
Chasing 276 in a 50-over contest at 3W’s Oval, Cave Hill Campus, the President’s XI cantered to their target in the 47th over, with Bravo and Greaves getting the joint top score of 70.
Left-hander Bravo, bidding for a return to West Indies colours following a period out of form, hit one four and half-dozen sixes in a knock requiring 62 balls.
Greaves, fresh from helping West Indies Emerging Players capture the Super50 Cup last month, belted eight fours and a couple of sixes in 67 balls at the crease.
Brandon King, one of West Indies’ latest batting recruits, chipped in with 45 off 57 balls while Sunil Ambris (22) and Joshua Dasilva (21 not out) played supporting roles.
Ireland had earlier posted 275 for nine off their allotted overs thanks to opener Gareth Delany’s top score of 60 off 78 deliveries.
Kevin O’Brien with 43, captain Andrew Balbirnie, 49, William Porterfield, 36, and Lorcan Tucker, 35, all chipped in with important knocks.
Sent in, Ireland’s momentum came initially from Delany who put on 47 for the first wicket with Paul Stirling (17) and another 71 for the second wicket with Balbirnie.
When Delany, who counted three fours and sixes, perished in the 25th over and Balbirnie fell eight balls later with five runs added, O’Brien and Porterfield combined in a 74-run fourth wicket stand to rescue the innings.
Asked to score at just over 5-½ runs per over, Ambris put on 32 for the first wicket with left-hander Kieran Powell (17) before adding a further 36 for the second wicket with King, who struck four fours and a six.
Bravo then took charge of the innings, posting 48 for the third wicket with King and 61 for the fourth with Greaves, to put his side in command.
When Bravo perished in the 35th over, Greaves assumed responsibility for the run chase, adding 56 for the fifth wicket with DaSilva and 35 for the seventh with Romario Shepherd (19 not out) before falling in the 46th over with just eight runs required for victory.