West Indies captain Chris Gayle struck Australia fast bowler Brett Lee for 27 runs in one over at last year’s World Twenty20 so Ireland’s attack could be forgiven for fearing the worst.
Hosts West Indies face Ireland, looking for yet more giant killing success, on the first day of this year’s ICC World Twenty20 on Friday.
One consolation for Ireland is that the form of the West Indies in general and Gayle in particular is far from consistent.
But if Gayle, whose 117 against South Africa in the inaugural 2007 edition remains the only century at a World Twenty20, does find his form then Ireland’s bowlers will be hard pressed to keep him in check.
This month the West Indies beat Ireland by six wickets on the Duckworth/Lewis method in a one-day international in Jamaica but trying to apply conclusions from other forms of cricket to Twenty20 is fraught with risk.
Logically, West Indies should win but Ireland have enjoyed upsetting the odds on the world stage.
At last year’s World Twenty20 they beat Test nation Bangladesh and at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean they knocked former champions Pakistan out of the tournament.
Ireland relish their role as underdogs on the big stage but for the home side are under pressure.
The team was reduced to a bit-part role at the 2007 World Cup and defeat on Friday would lead to more frustration amongst their fans who recently saw the team beaten by Zimbabwe in a one-day international, although the West Indies did go on to win that series 4-1.
It is six years since the West Indies won a major international tournament, the 2004 Champions Trophy and batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, a veteran of that success, believes the current side are in a position to make the most of their local knowledge.
“We have a very good chance of winning this competition. We are at home and that gives us an advantage,” he said.
“What is important is that we play as a team and try and support each other as much as we can, whether it’s in the field or when we are batting or bowling. “We hope we can do it on a consistent basis.”
Ireland may entrust eight overs to teenage spinners George Dockrell and Paul Stirling, who both got through their full quota in Tuesday’s 40-run warm-up defeat by New Zealand, with Dockrell taking three wickets.
It was in 1969 that Ireland made the cricket world sit up and take notice by dismissing the touring West Indies for just 25 on what remains one of the most famous days in Irish cricket history.
Now Ireland are coached by a former West Indies batsman in Phil Simmons and he reckons the compressed nature of Twenty20 makes upsets more likely.
“I think it’s easier to pull off a shock in Twenty20 because recovery time is less than in 50 overs,” said Simmons.
“We have played that little bit more Twenty20 than we had going into the last World Cup – so we are slightly wiser about Twenty20 cricket. That has to be a good thing.”