Walsh dedicates Windies heroics to his father on death anniversary

Hayden Walsh (Getty Images)
Hayden Walsh (Getty Images)

Bridgetown - Hayden Walsh said his career best score which helped West Indies to a nail-biting one-wicket win over Ireland in the second one-day international (ODI) was dedicated to his father who died 10 years ago.

Walsh, batting at nine and in the team primarily for his skills as a leg-break bowler rather than a tail-end saviour, made an undefeated 46 in Thursday's win which was only secured on the penultimate ball as the West Indies almost made a complete hash of chasing down a 238-run target.

"It was a bit of an emotional day for me. I got the inspiration as it marks the 10th anniversary of my father's death," said the 27-year-old after the game at Kensington Oval.

"He taught me everything I know in cricket. Many people know he was a very good cricketer and this was part of our dream for me to represent the West Indies and win matches for the people of the West Indies."

He added: "It was a bit overwhelming. I was talking myself through the whole innings and to get over the line was like a long journey. Felt like I had just run a whole marathon."

His path to the West Indies team has also taken some obscure routes.

Walsh's early career playing regional cricket with the Windward Islands was supplemented by working as a physical education teacher.

Thursday's match was only his seventh ODI.

He made his international debut last April, playing not for the West Indies but the United Stated in a World Cricket League match against Papua New Guinea in Namibia.

Born in the US Virgin Islands, dual-nationality Walsh eventually came to the attention of West Indies selectors through his performances in the Caribbean T20 Premier League.

The Kensington Oval is where he has played most of his CPL matches and that local knowledge proved invaluable on Thursday in a helter-skelter final over in which his team needed just five runs and Ireland one wicket.

Last man Sheldon Cottrell was almost run-out twice - saved first by a botched piece of fielding and then by diving and scrambling to make his ground.

With two balls left, Cottrell decided that he had rode his luck too much and instead settled the game with a huge six over cover off Mark Adair.

"It was nerve-wracking," Walsh told reporters.

"I backed Sheldon to do his part. I wasn't looking to get the strike unless it was the last ball.

"I was hoping that he would get a single or we could scramble one and I could face the last ball."

The West Indies, who won the first game of the series also in Barbados by five wickets on Tuesday, will look to complete a sweep on Sunday in Grenada in the third and final match.

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