Wednesday, March 2, 2011

England vs. Ireland

Ireland 329 for 7 (K O'Brien 113, Cusack 47, Swann 3-47) beat England 327 for 8 (Trott 92, Bell 81, Pietersen 59, Mooney 4-63) by three wickets

getty images

The moments are starting to happen, and they all seem to be around England. Wether its heroic one man knocks from the Dutch superstar to keep his team in the match, to a graceful captain’s knock from Strauss to bring England back from the brink. And then Ireland .....

Kevin O'Brien stunned England with the fastest hundred in World Cup history as Ireland secured their greatest victory with a monumental three-wicket triumph in Bangalore. O'Brien clubbed a magnificent 113 off 63 deliveries as Ireland earned the highest World Cup run-chase with four balls to spare. After he'd added a match-changing 162 with Alex Cusack, John Mooney joined him to play the innings of his life and help write another famous chapter in Irish sport.

England won the toss and entered the arena with plenty of confidence, and this showed in the batting as Pietersen, Trott and Bell kept the score moving to a sizable total for any side let alone Ireland. Towards the back end of the innings it seemed that England was comfortable in the score they had produced as the lower order threw its wicket away cheaply.

Ireland did not start well, Porterfield was the 3rd opener this WC to be out first ball as he dragged the ball onto his stumps, Ed Joyce and Niall O'Brien all played neatly their contributions were seemingly too insignificant in such a huge pursuit.

As Ed Joyce departed it seemed he had taken Irelands chances with him, O’Brien’s innings was like watching a heavy weight fighter against an amateur, he just bossed the bowling taking 16 off Yardy with a blaze of 4’s and 6’s, and 24 runs off both Anderson and Bresnan. O’Brien reminded me of the clubbing efforts of Symonds in South Africa against Pakistan, or Matthew Hayden when in full brutal flight, bringing up his hundred off 50 balls with a tuck for two into the leg side to beat Matthew Hayden's World Cup record of 66 deliveries. It led to a reveal of his the purple head-do as part of Ireland's charity fundraising campaign.

There was still a twist in this game as England blundered again opportunity to close the match off due to nervous fielding, It will be largely forgotten because of what followed, but Trott wrote his own place in the record books when he reached 1000 runs in his 21st innings to equal the mark set by Viv Richards.

Ireland surely I feel have done enough for test status, many will argue it’s all been at World Cups and no other competitions, but Bangladesh beat one full status nation once and the ICC rubber stamped its rise into the full international ranks. After this victory, coupled with the rise of many Irish players within county cricket now is the right time for the country to be involved in the 5 day game. If anything they will offer countries like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and to some extent NZ a good opposition. The ICC must ride this wave with Ireland and help make this their opportunity to progress the sport.

The vote that has asked for the associate members not to be involved in the next World Cup to be staged in Aust/NZ is looking more foolish the further this tournament continues, yes there will be white washes from time to time, without them we shall lose story lines and David & Golaith victories. The World Cup so far has proven that teams like the Netherlands and Ireland have earned their place and are an inspiration for other developing nations in cricket.

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