Two-time champion West Indies and Ireland rebounded from their opening losses at the Twenty20 World Cup with emphatic victories on Wednesday to open up Group B.
Curtis Campher belted an unbeaten 72 from 32 deliveries to lead Ireland to a six-wicket win over Scotland.
Later in the night game, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph picked up 4-16 and led West Indies to a 31-run win over Zimbabwe, which was bowled out for 122 with 10 balls to spare.
That leaves all four teams in Group B with two points each from two matches. The winners of West Indies vs. Ireland and Zimbabwe vs. Scotland on Friday will advance to the Super 12.
Scotland upset two-time champion West Indies in the group opener on Monday and was in control of its second game as Ireland struggled at 61-4 in the 10th over chasing 177 to win.
That’s where Campher and George Dockrell dug in, combining in an unbroken 119-run fifth-wicket stand that turned the game around at Bellerive Oval.
Ireland steadily eroded the target to the point where the equation was 12 runs needed from the last 12 balls. Campher ensured the victory, and posted Ireland’s highest-ever individual score at the T20 World Cup, with three straight boundaries to lift the total to 180-4 and finish off the 19th over. Dockrell finished unbeaten on 39 from 27 balls.
Campher said his aim when Ireland lost two wicket within five deliveries in the ninth and 10th overs was just to back himself.
“I had a clear game plan: just take the game deep, go with my options,” he said. “Lucky today was my day.”
Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie said his team was motivated after getting close too many times but not quite getting the result.
“It was pretty special, I can’t remember an important partnership as that,” he said of the Campher-Dockrell stand. “We started the tournament a bit disappointingly. To be able to drag it back and stay in this competition is really important for us.”
After losing George Munsey in the second over, Scotland’s batting was solid.
Michael Jones posted 86 from 55 deliveries with six boundaries and four sixes, including one onto the stadium roof.
He shared a 59-run stand with Matthew Cross (29) and 77 with skipper Richie Berrington (37) to set the foundations for Scotland’s total of 176-5.
“We certainly put Ireland under pressure early on,” Berrington said. “You’ve got to give Ireland credit. Exceptional knock from Curtis Campher.
“These group situations are never straight forward. We’ll come back strong in the last game against Zimbabwe.”
Off-spinner Sikandar Raza picked up 3-19 and strangled the West Indies in the middle overs before it reached 153-7 after electing to bat first.
Opening batter Johnson Charles top-scored with 45 off 36 balls before West Indies lost wickets in cluster and slipped to 101-6 in 14 overs.
West Indies was going along nicely at 90-2 before it lost four wickets within two overs. Captain Nicholas Pooran gave a tame return catch to Sean Williams and three balls later Charles was run out. Raza then had Shamarh Brooks leg before wicket for zero before Jason Holder also perished by offering a simple catch back to Raza.
Zimbabwe’s aggression led to its downfall as its batters continued to look for big hits before getting dismissed for 122 in 18.2 overs.
Joseph picked up two wickets inside the batting powerplay through his relentless pace before clean bowling the threatening Luke Jongwe (29) in his return spell.
“It’s not just now but since the beginning of the year he’s (Joseph) been our best bowler in T20 cricket,” Pooran said. “Bowling at 140-plus, getting wickets for us and bringing that energy, it’s an exciting time for West Indies cricket.”
Holder also finished with impressive figures of 3-12 as he claimed the last wicket of Tendai Chatara.
India’s warmup game against New Zealand and Bangladesh’s warmup game against South Africa didn’t get started at the Gabba because of persistent rain, one of three practice games in Brisbane that were either curtailed or abandoned.
Mohammad Nabi scored an unbeaten 51 in Afghanistan’s 154-6 against Pakistan. The second innings lasted 2.2 overs, with Pakistan on 19 without loss, before the match was stopped because of rain.
India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet Sunday in the Super 12 round in front of a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Defending champion Australia and New Zealand meet in a grand final rematch on Saturday to open the second phase of the tournament.
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