ED JOYCE steered Ireland to an historic first T20 international victory over a major Test-playing nation in Jamaica last night as the West Indies were beaten by six wickets at Sabina Park.
The scene of Ireland's first major upset when they beat Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup, cemented its place in folklore in front of a stunned crowd.
A superb Irish performance in the field restricted the current world champions to a below-par 116-8 from their 20 overs with Tim Murtagh, Alex Cusack and Kevin O'Brien each taking two wickets.
George Dockrell conceded only 15 runs from his four overs, while Cusack struck a key early blow by having Chris Gayle caught in the deep for 18 and Murtagh bowled dangerman Andre Russell to ensure there was no late surge from the West Indies.
The chase began disastrously with openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling both out in the first eight balls, but the experience of Joyce was able to steady the ship.
He lost Gary Wilson for a lively 18, but found a fine ally in Clontarf batsman Andrew Poynter in a fourth wicket partnership of 58 from 55 balls that swung the momentum firmly back to the visitors.
Poynter was bowled for 32, but Joyce remained steadfast, not panicking as the West Indies desperately tried to regain a foothold. Kevin O'Brien eased the nerves of Irish fans with two important boundaries and, with only three required from the final over, struck the winning runs with five balls to spare.
There was no doubt that Joyce was the hero of this latest giantkilling, though, as arguably Ireland's finest ever batsman walked off with 40 not out from 49 balls.
The West Indies will get a chance to level the two-match series tomorrow before Sunday's 50-over one-day international.