Ireland lost the one-off One-Day International to West Indies in Jamaica on Sunday night, but only after they had given the hosts a run for their money.
The final margin of victory for West Indies was a comfortable-looking four wickets, but there was plenty to encourage Ireland coach Phil Simmons at the end of the Caribbean tour.
Ireland will now return home in good heart with the World Twenty20 finals in Bangladesh to come next month but if Simmons wants an improvement in one specific area it will definitely be his team’s batting.
Just as Ireland disappointingly failed to chase down 97 in Friday’s second Twenty20 international, last night’s total of 202 all out was never likely to be enough on a much-improved Sabina Park pitch.
Gary Wilson has been the batting success of the tour and the Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman once again held the innings together with a fine 62 from 96 balls.
However, Ireland’s other big guns largely failed to come to the party with William Porterfield, Ed Joyce and Kevin O’Brien all reaching the twenties without going on to make a sizeable contributions.
Ireland Wilson’s partnership of 61 with Eglinton’s Stuart Thompson, who hit a stylish 33 from 34 balls, was needed to rescue Ireland from 132 for six.
Ireland’s total was son put into perspective as Dwayne Smith and Kieron Powell, the West Indies openers, led their team to three figures inside 17 overs.
But after hitting five fours and three sixes in making 55 from 53 balls, Smith was caught behind off Thompson, who is developing a handy habit of breaking partnerships.
The breakthrough sparked the Irish into life and the West Indies were wobbling as they lost two more wickets for eight runs. Kirk Edwards was run out by George Dockrell and Darren Bravo became Thompson’s second victim.
A half-century partnership between Powell (57) and West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo, who smashed 35 from just 28 balls, seemed to settle the outcome but even then Ireland fought back, with Paul Stirling and Max Sorensen removing the pair and leaving the home side on 172 for five.
Wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin also fell late on to left-arm spinner Dockrell but with Marlon Samuels plundering an unbeaten 26 from 21 balls the West Indies got home with almost 16 overs to spare.