February 16, 2015

NELSON, New Zealand (AP) The Cricket World Cup witnessed its first major upset when second-tier ''associate nation'' Ireland claimed a dominant four-wicket win over two-time champion the West Indies on Monday.

Paul Stirling fell eight runs short of his century as Ireland raced to 307-6 to easily overhaul the West Indies' 304-7 with 25 balls to spare in the only game of the day.

Stirling ignored the ball that clattered into his visor early in his innings to smash nine boundaries and three sixes as Ireland became the first team at the so far tournament to win while batting second.

Niall O'Brien made an unbeaten 79 from 60 balls to complete the win, holding his composure during a late flurry of wickets that saw Ireland slip from 273-2 to 291-6 and set Irish hearts racing.

''It's obviously fantastic,'' Ireland captain William Porterfield said. ''The way we set about chasing those runs was great and it sets us up now for the next few games. It's a great position to be in.

''The self-belief has been growing in the squad for a long time and we thoroughly believed when we went out on the pitch today that we were capable of winning this game and not only this game other games in the competition and we've just got to continue that now throughout the tournament.''

Stirling and Joyce were members of the Ireland team that beat England in a famous upset at the 2011 World Cup, building on Ireland's giant-killing reputation which had been forged when it beat Pakistan during its first World Cup appearance in 2007.

There have been only six occasions in 11 World Cups in which a team has won chasing more than 300 and three of those victories belong to Ireland.

The match marked the first appearance at this tournament of an associate team - one of cricket's non test-playing nations - and delivered a stern rebuke to the International Cricket Council, which will attempt to shut those teams out of the next World Cup by limiting entry to 10 teams.

Another associate nation will be in action Tuesday when Scotland meets co-host New Zealand in Dunedin, New Zealand.

After making the bold decision to bowl after winning the toss, Ireland took early control as left-arm spinner George Dockrell took 3-50 to leave the West Indies stumbling on 87-5.

Lendl Simmons, with 102, and deposed captain Darren Sammy, with his highest ODI score of 89, led the West Indies' recovery to 304-7, sharing a 154-run partnership for the sixth wicket and helping their team add 124 runs in its last 10 overs.

Stirling and Porterfield gave Ireland the perfect platform for their run chase, putting on 71 in 13.3 overs for the first wicket, then Stirling and Joyce put on 106 in 14.2 overs - their century partnership from 84 balls - for the second. Ireland was always scoring well ahead of the West Indies' run-rate, relieving any possible pressure their opponents tried to exert.

''Obviously putting 300 runs on the board, we backed ourselves to defend it but we didn't bowl well enough today,'' West Indies captain Jason Holder said.

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