After helping mastermind a stunning win over the West Indies, Paul Stirling will be aiming to inspire Ireland to back-to-back victories at the ICC Cricket World Cup, writes John Gillespie.
Not for the first time, the ex-Cliftonville CC player showcased his undoubted ability with the bat on a global stage, storming to a man-of-the-match display with a knock of 92 off just 84 balls.
His magnificent performance steered Ireland to a four-wicket win over the Windies, who had left Phil Simmons’ men chasing a target of 305 in Nelson, New Zealand.
The former Belfast High pupil tweeted: “Brill start to the campaign. Support in Nelson and from home has been great #1/1.”
Stirling formed a 100 partnership with Ed Joyce (84), while Niall O’Brien also made a huge contribution, chalking up 79 not-out.
Former Ireland star Kyle McCallan wrote on Twitter: “This has been an absolute pleasure to watch. Simply class.”
Now the focus switches to Wednesday’s second Pool B match against United Arab Emirates in Brisbane.
The clash with the UAE will have been on Ireland’s ‘winnable’ radar for a long time and after their heroics against the Windies, it’s a game many will be expecting the boys in green to navigate successfully.
If they can do that, it will set them up nicely for the impending examinations against South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan.
Stirling was part of Ireland’s squad for the 2011 World Cup where he smashed 101 runs off 70 balls to record the fourth-fastest World Cup century in history against the Netherlands.