The old saying goes that records are meant to be broken. On Sunday May 5th 2019 at the Clontarf Cricket Ground in Dublin, West Indies openers Shai Hope and John Campbell made heads spin globally with a World record opening stand of 365 for the 1st wicket. John Campbell struck his maiden ODI century, smashing 179 while Shai Hope brought up his 5th ODI century in his 50th game in this form of the game. Ireland entered the game full of confidence as they had England on the back foot in their one-off ODI last week Friday. But in this glorious game of uncertainties, they were quickly brought back down to Earth by an all-round West Indian performance.
Glorious pulls, cuts and straight hits were efficient with Shai Hope smashing a 6 over extra cover.
Ireland won the toss and opted to bowl first in cloudy conditions. The very first ball of the match, Campbell called for a risky single that almost ran himself out. Luckily for him the ball missed the stumps. The ground known for short straight boundaries and a batting paradise was proven by the West Indian batsmen as they compiled 381 for 3 in their allotted 50 overs. With 8 runs shy of the biggest ODI partnership for any wicket (Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels 372 runs against Zimbabwe 2015 World Cup), Campbell perished in the latter overs attempting a pull shot against Barry McCarthy. Shai Hope soon followed in the very same over pulling straight down deep square-leg’s throat.
After a sedate watchful start to the innings, both openers went into second gear with little catches offered to the Irishmen. Glorious pulls, cuts and straight hits were efficient with Shai Hope smashing a 6 over extra cover. That was the best shot of the match in my opinion as it looked so similar to Virat Kohli. No luck for the Irish whatsoever. That mammoth total proved to be too much for Ireland. They were immediately on the back-foot when Kemar Roach and Sheldon Cottrell had Ireland tottering at 21/3. Irish batsman Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O’Brien constructed a partnership to keep their hopes alive. Balbirnie however was struck on the helmet by a vicious bouncer from Shannon Gabriel and had to retire hurt as a precautionary method.
He returned later to bat in the match but did not add much to his score and was dismissed for 29. Kevin O’Brien was joined by wicket-keeper Gary Wilson and the pair batted with confidence and full of flair. Ashley Nurse however had different ideas as he removed O’Brien for 68 caught at mid-off by the towering West Indies Captain Jason Holder. Wilson fell soon after to Gabriel for 30 and that was the end of the run chase realistically for Ireland. Nurse snapped up 4 wickets while Gabriel grabbed 3 wickets to wrap up the innings and gave West Indies a comprehensive 196 run win. The West Indies next play Bangladesh on Tuesday. Bigger challenges ahead but based on this performance, they are up for it.