|USA 188-6 (20 overs) Singh 65, Modani 50; McCarthy 4-30|
|Ireland 161-6 (20 overs) Tucker 57, Stirling 31; Netravalkar 2-26, Patel 2-27|
|USA won by 26 runs|
Ireland have been stunned by the United States of America in the first historic Twenty20 International between the sides in Florida.
The series in Florida is the first time a full ICC member has faced the USA on American soil.
After losing four early wickets in Lauderhill, the USA rallied and set a total of 188 for Ireland to chase.
Ireland laboured with the bat and fell well short of matching the USA, ranked 17 places lower in 30th.
The defeat comes just two months after Ireland were dumped out of the T20 World Cup group stages after defeats by Sri Lanka and Namibia.
After a highly-anticipated build-up to the historic game, the USA elected to bat first but it was a disastrous start when Barry McCarthy dismissed captain Monank Patel with the second ball.
It looked like a rout would be on the cards when Xavier Marshall (four) Ritwik Behera (zero) and opener Ryan Scott (eight) were all out by the fourth over, with McCarthy adding two more wickets to his tally.
That left the USA sitting on 16-4, but a strong response led by Gajanand Singh and Sushant Modan brought the hosts back into the game and ultimately paved the way to victory.
Singh was eventually dismissed for 65 from Ben White’s delivery and Modan fell on 50 at the end of the penultimate over, from McCarthy’s fourth wicket of the innings, but the USA set a strong total for the favourites to chase with 188.
Ireland lost captain Andrew Balbirnie for four in the second over of the return and star batter Paul Stirling fell for 31 with Ireland on 45.
The loss of Stirling, who could move up to fourth in the list of all-time T20 runs if he scores more than 20 in the second match on Thursday, hampered Ireland as they looked to chase the USA.
Despite the resistance of Lorcan Tucker, who was not out on 57, the Irish batting order struggling to build momentum and Curtis Campher (17), Shane Getkate (19) and Neil Rock (seven) were all dismissed to put the USA in control.
By the time William McClintock was bowled by Ali Khan in the 18th over the game was all but lost for Ireland, who then fell to defeat by 26 runs.
Remaining fixtures – USA v Ireland:
- 23 December: 2nd T20I (Florida; midnight GMT)
- 26 December: 1st ODI (Florida; 15:00 GMT)
- 28 December: 2nd ODI (Florida; 15:00 GMT)
- 30 December: 3rd ODI (Florida; 19:00 GMT)