Dublin: Sunil Ambris' 126-ball 148 overshadowed Andrew Balbirnie's 124-ball 135 as West Indies beat Ireland by five wickets in a high-scoring affair in Dublin on Saturday (May 11) to reclaim the top spot in the points table of the tri-series, also involving Bangladesh.
Apart from Balbirnie, who scored his fourth ODI century, Paul Stirling (77) and Kevin O'Brien (63) also chipped as Ireland posted 327 for 5 in their 50 overs.
In reply, Ambris made a mockery of the chase and was well supported by other batsmen as West Indies romped home with 13 balls to spare and achieved their highest run-chase in ODIs.
Opting to bat, Stirling and Balbirnie put on 146 runs for the second wicket to provide Ireland a solid platform. It was Shannon Gabriel (2 for 47) who brought an end to Stirling's 98-ball knock, studded with eight fours and two sixes, but Balbirnie carried on.
The 28-year-old found an able ally in O'Brien who was more aggressive with his approach. While Balbirnie smashed 11 sixes and four fours, O'Brien managed three fours and as many maximums. Mark Adair then played a quickfire knock of 13-ball 25* to ensure Ireland finish on a high.
West Indies needed a solid start and they got that from Shai Hope (30) and Ambris. The two added 84 runs for the opening wicket before Hope was caught out in the bowling of Boyd Rankin (3 for 65). Roston Chase (46), Jonathan Carter (43*) and Jason Holder (36) all chipped in but it was Ambris who looked class apart and completed his maiden century.
The right-hander hit 19 fours and a six before finally perishing in the 40th over. However, Carter and Holder didn't provide Ireland any opportunity to make a comeback and got the job done without any trouble.
Ireland will now need to beat Bangladesh next week and hope other results go their way if they are to reach the final.