World T20 cricket: Ireland knocked out but West Indies through
|ICC World Twenty20 Group B, Colombo:|
|Ireland 129-6 (19 overs) v West Indies (match abandoned)|
Ireland have been eliminated from the World Twenty20 and West Indies are through to the next stage after their Group B decider was ruined by rain.
Ireland posted 129-6 in their rain-reduced innings of 19 overs, but further showers saw the match called off before the Windies could bat.
Both sides lost to Australia in their first match, but West Indies advance because of a better net run rate.
West Indies will play England in their first Super Eights game on Thursday.
The omens looked poor for Ireland when skipper Will Porterfield was out to the very first ball, for the second successive match.
But Ireland battled back well, despite their innings being disrupted by a rain delay, and Niall O'Brien top-scored with 25 to help the associate nation to a competitive total.
The match was set up nicely, but a heavy downpour in the interval lasted long enough to see proceedings abandoned, meaning Ireland went out of the competition following a rain-ruined match for a second successive time - the same thing happening against England in 2010.
Paul Collingwood's side, beneficiaries in Guyana two years ago, went on to win the tournament, and Darren Sammy will be hoping the same destiny awaits his powerful West Indies side.
They will be pleased with their display in the field, after their bowling attack struggled against Australia on Saturday - the Aussies had reached 100-1 from 9.1 overs in reply to 191-8 when the rain brought a premature end to that match.
They took wickets regularly enough to disrupt Ireland's momentum in Colombo, and their key weapon may yet be off-spinner Sunil Narine, who picked up the important wicket of Ed Joyce as Ireland looked to overcome the early loss of their captain, bowled by a beautiful Fidel Edwards delivery.
Joyce (17) and opener Paul Stirling (19) had repaired the early damage when the rain came, with their side 33-1 from five overs.
However, on the resumption, Narine got two deliveries to turn away from Joyce before bowling him round his legs.
Stirling soon followed, caught by Gayle attempting to pull Sammy, before Gary Wilson, with a breezy 21, and Niall O'Brien added 33 for the fourth wicket.
Gayle removed both to underline his all-round abilities - celebrating both wickets with a gleeful jig - before Kevin O'Brien, Trent Johnston and Nigel Jones added late runs to help Ireland to a reasonable total.
Frustrated by the return of the rain, Ireland can at least take some comfort from a battling effort against a useful Windies side who now face England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the next stage of the competition.