Veteran Dwayne Bravo's return following a three-and-a-half year sojourn on the sidelines ended in disappointment as a feisty Ireland stunned West Indies by four runs in the opening Twenty20 worldwide yesterday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Openers Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien gave Ireland the flawless start batting first, as the pair added 154 runs for the first wicket inside 13 overs.
With five needed off the last ball and seven wickets down, Hayden Walsh could only wave his bat into thin air in a desperate attempt to win the game.
Needing 15 to win, all-rounder Josh Little (3-29) got rid of the unsafe Dwayne Bravo, one of two wickets to fall in the last over.
Ireland appeared well on course for victory when, during an up-and-down West Indies run chase in which Evin Lewis thumped 53 from 29 balls and captain Kieron Pollard nailed 31 from 15 deliveries, the equation was reduced to 43 required from the last three overs.
Andrew Balbirnie hailed Paul Stirling's batting performance as Ireland after they gained revenge for the one-day series whitewash by the West Indies with a thrilling victory in their T20 opener.
Stirling would fall just 5-runs short of his century, but his 95 would prove more than useful and included no fewer than 8 sixes and half a dozen fours.
Stirling smashed eight sixes and six fours in a brutal display of hitting as he and opening partner Kevin O'Brien (48 off 32) took Ireland to 154-0 after 12.1 overs, clubbing a world-record powerplay score of 93 in the process.
Needing to score at almost 10-½ runs per over, West Indies were well ahead of the required rate thanks to Lendl Simmons who pummeled three fours and a six in a 14-ball 22, as he added 37 off 21 balls for the first wicket with Lewis.
Stirling picked up the player of the match award and was delighted to come out on the right side of a tight contest.
Bravo, playing an worldwide match for the first time since September 2016, was taken for 18 runs by Stirling in his first over. The bowler conceded 17 runs but recovered to end with 2 for 28, in the end playing a pivotal role in restricting Ireland to 208 for 7.
The second match of the three-game series takes place on Saturday at St Kitts and Nevis.