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Ben Whitley/INPHO Andrew Balbirnie.
# T20
It was an emotional finish' - Ireland captain hails team after West Indies win
Paul Stirling finished with a fine unbeaten 66 from 48 balls.

IRELAND CAPTAIN ANDY Balbirnie hailed the mentality of his team after a nine-wicket victory over West Indies clinched their place in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup.

Having recovered from a 31-run defeat to Zimbabwe by beating Scotland, Balbirnie’s side used that momentum to pull off another impressive display.

Ireland advanced to the next stage of the tournament for the second time, last making it through in 2009.

“This means everything to us. We were so disappointed to miss out at this stage last year, so we had to do a lot of thinking and make a lot of changes back home,” Balbirnie said after Ireland’s victory, reported by BBC Sport.

“We set out some things we wanted to achieve as a team and how we wanted to play.

“And here, we lost our first game, but to then come back and beat the two-time champions in a must-win game, I could not be prouder.

“It was an emotional finish, we are absolutely delighted.”

Balbirnie added: A lot of things can happen in T20 cricket when it’s your day. We want to test ourselves against the best in the world and who knows where that can take us?”

While Ireland celebrate another milestone, West Indies, the two-time champions, are left with an ignominious first-round exit.

West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran, who was out for 13, said: “It’s really tough.

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“I want to say congratulations to Ireland, they batted and bowled fantastically today.

“We haven’t batted well enough throughout the tournament. This is a learning experience for us, we are really disappointed and we know our fans will be disappointed back home.

“It’s definitely hurting. I’m disappointed in myself and how it has gone but we will live to fight another day.”

Head coach Phil Simmons said his West Indies team “didn’t turn up” and it was back to the drawing board.The West Indies’s World Cup ended in the first round at Hobart, a far cry from winning the title in 2012 and 2016 and the latest disappointment for the once-powerful Caribbean side.

“We just didn’t turn up today,” Simmons said.

“We started well with the bat, but we just didn’t continue.

“I think when you sum it up, we were outplayed in all departments today. They bowled well. We batted well at the start but didn’t carry on, and they just batted well and batted us out of the game.”



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