Windies below par but manage series draw

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At the end of the day, the score book will show an 11-run victory for the West Indies and the two-game Twenty20 series drawn at 1-1.

At the end of the day, the score book will show an 11-run victory for the West Indies and the two-game Twenty20 series drawn at 1-1.

Ultimately, that's all that matters but this was another abject performance from the hosts, who had their bowlers to thank for getting them off the hook after limping to just 97 with the bat.

The ignominy of a series defeat to Ireland, in their own backyard, was avoided but Friday's slender win does little to mitigate the agitation in the Caribbean.

Darren Sammy led from the front with the ball, with 3/22, after he saw his batsman succumb to Ireland's disciplined and steady for the second time in three days after being put into bat at Sabina Park.

The World Twenty20 holders faltered to 96/9, with Andre Fletcher – who replaced Chris Gayle in one of two changes made by the hosts from Wednesday's six-wicket reversal – the only batsman to score at better than a run-a-ball.

It proved to be enough, however, as Sammy and both Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine stifled the Irish as they chased a historic series victory.

Gary Wilson provided dogged resistance and gave Phil Simmons' side an outset chance of reaching the victory target but as the required rate rose, the wicket-keeper was caught and bowled by Dwayne Bravo for 35, all but ending the contest.

It was the slower bowlers who prospered again on the sterile surface and after Alex Cusack had earlier taken career best figures of 4/11, the West Indies used conditions to their advantage by curbing Ireland's momentum from the outset.

Left-armer Krishmar Santokie, who replaced Ravi Rampaul in the side, removed Paul Stirling in the third over and the Middlesex batsman was shortly followed back to the pavilion by William Porterfield who was bogged down by Badree. The leg-spinner eventually broke through the Irish captain's defences with one that kept low.

After a slow start, there was no respite for the Associate nation as they found runs hard to come by. Ed Joyce, on his 100th appearance for Ireland, looked to replicate his exploits of Wednesday but Narine struck to claim the crucial wicket of the Sussex captain in the seventh over before Andrew Poynter picked out extra-cover off a Sammy full toss.

When Kevin O'Brien was bowled by the all-rounder for just 3, Ireland's chances had evaporated. Wilson was the only batsmen to reach double figures and his dismissal in the 18th over produced a jig from Bravo, underlying the relief felt by the World Twenty20 holders at restoring some pride.

It hadn't seemed likely ninety minutes earlier. Sammy insisted his side would learn from their mistakes having lost five successive Twenty20 games but it was a familiar story with the bat as they showed little application against a miserly attack.

The first-wicket pair of Dwayne Smith and Fletcher were quick out of the traps, putting on 27, but the latter's tame departure for 19, caused a rippling effect. Two needless run-outs, of Bravo and Sammy, was indicative of the amateur nature of the innings.

Tim Murtagh and O'Brien chipped in with a wicket apiece but Ireland were left to rue a couple of dropped chances as they slipped to defeat, closing on 85/8, eleven runs short.

<b>Ryan Bailey</b>

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