There was jubilation as Ireland advanced in the T20 World Cup last night by defeating two-time champions West indies in a stunning nine-wicket victory in Hobart, Tasmania.
In the final match of the group stage, Ireland slammed West Indies by nine wickets to reach T20 World Cup Super 12s, eliminating the champions. They will now face England in the second round if they finish second in their pool.
The breath-taking winner-takes-all victory means Ireland have made it into the second round for the first time since 2009. The win also saw West Indies, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2016, suffering a first-round exit for just the second time.
Paul Stirling (66 not out off 48) and Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie (37 off 23) added a whirlwind 73 from just 7.3 overs, and ended on 66 not out.
A first-class bowling display restricted West Indies to 146-5, with Gareth Delany picking up 3-16.
The thrashing means Ireland now finish second in Group B in the global tournament, and advance to Group One of the Super 12s, accompanied by hosts Australia, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
They will play England in Melbourne on Wednesday (05:00 BST), marking the first sides the two rivals have met in a global event since underdogs Ireland managed to upset England at the 2011 50-over World Cup.
The historic win sparked celebration and praise on social media.
“This will be remembered in Irish cricket,” wrote Indian cricket fan Johns Benny.
A historic moment in Ireland cricket, going into Super 12 by beating 2 time World Cup champions in Round 1.
This will be remembered in Irish cricket. pic.twitter.com/U3J5lRGpJc
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) October 21, 2022
“What a moment in Irish cricket history,” another tweet read, while multiple commentators welcomed the comprehensive win as well-deserved.
Ireland richly deserve this Super 12s spot – they've played some outstanding cricket throughout the year. Against India and New Zealand, they were stupendous.
Many congratulations on this opportunity, Ireland!
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) October 21, 2022
Ireland skipper, Andrew Balbirnie said the win meant everything, and made it “a really proud day to be Irish”.
“It means everything. We had a really disappointing loss at this stage last year and did a lot of thinking, a lot of things changed back home. Different personnel, new coach, the way we wanted to play. To beat the two-time champions in a must-win game, I couldn’t be prouder. It’s a really proud day to be Irish,” he said.
“Once you put yourselves in that situation [the Super 12s] anything can happen. We are delighted. We just want to pit ourselves against the best in the world and who knows where that can take us?”
While Player of the Match, Gareth Delany said it was “an incredible day” which marked a remarkable comeback.
“It is obviously an incredible day for us. This time last year we were all sitting around in the dressing room afterwards and it was probably one of the toughest days for all of us.
“So, to get over the line today, in the fashion that we did, was amazing. It’s a dream come true and we are ecstatic about what we are going to be able to do over the next few weeks,” he said.
There was tangible desolation for the two-time champions however, with West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran describing the defeat as “tough” to take.
“This is a learning experience for all of us. We have disappointed our fans back home and disappointed ourselves. It’s tough. We are definitely hurting. I am disappointed in the way I performed. We haven’t batted well in this tournament and didn’t today either,” Pooran said.