Ireland beat West Indies by nine wickets in Hobart to book their place in the Super 12s stage of the T20 World Cup and send the former champions crashing out, while Scotland missed out to Zimbabwe for the final qualifying place.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, West Indies could reach only 146 for five, with Brandon King scoring an unbeaten 62. Ireland’s spinners played their part with Gareth Delany taking three for 16 and Sami Singh one for 11 from his two overs. Odean Smith added a rapid 19 late in the innings, but the 147 target always looked modest.
Ireland, who had recovered from a 31-run defeat to Zimbabwe with a dramatic comeback to beat Scotland, reached their victory target with 15 balls to spare. Paul Stirling made 66 not out and built a first-wicket partnership of 73 with Andy Balbirnie, before the captain was caught at point off Akeal Hosein for 37.
Lorcan Tucker came in to bat and scored 45 not out, hitting the winning runs to seal a memorable victory for the loss of only one wicket. Ireland advance to the Super 12s for the first time since 2009, while the two-time tournament winners are left to reflect on an ignominious first-round exit.
“This means everything to us. We were so disappointed to miss out at this stage last year,” the Ireland captain, Balbirnie, said afterwards. “We set out some things we wanted to achieve as a team and how we wanted to play,” he added. “We lost our first game but to then come back and beat two-time champions in a must-win game, I could not be prouder. It was an emotional finish, we are absolutely delighted. It is a really proud day for Ireland.”
The West Indies captain, Nicholas Pooran, said: “It’s definitely hurting. I’m disappointed in myself and how it has gone but we will live to fight another day. I want to say congratulations to Ireland, they batted and bowled fantastically today. This is a learning experience for us.”
Electing to bat in the second match, Scotland managed 132 for six with opener George Munsey top scoring with 54.
Zimbabwe’s chase was not without hiccups but Craig Ervine produced a captain’s knock of 54 and Sikandar Raza smashed a breezy 40 as they overwhelmed the target with nine balls to spare.
“It’s satisfying and humbling and emotional as well,” player-of-the-match Raza, who also took a stunning catch and claimed a wicket, said. “I said to [Ervine]: ‘Give me 8-10 balls and I’ll try to win it as quickly as possible. You’re the one who’s going to take it deep.’”
Zimbabwe join India, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh and the Netherlands in Group 2 of the Super 12 stage.
Ireland face England, New Zealand, Australia, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in Group 1.