This one’s for stealing Eoin Morgan! That is perhaps what some of the Irish are saying as Ireland stunned England with a victory no one will forget in a hurry. Kevin O’Brien rocked England’s boat and it would be fair to say that England have had their heart broken a second time in Bengaluru in a week in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
This was not a task for the faint hearted. Down at 113 for five after twenty-four overs, still needing a run rate of over 8.6 for an improbably victory, Ireland pulled magic out of the hat with one of their own and in doing so, have put their immediate neighbours in peril already.
England tied the match with India on Sunday and were on Wednesday handed a stunning defeat that they did not see coming, particularly when it seemed that the Irish cause was all but over. But England made pretty much the same mistake India made at the M. A Chinnaswamy Stadium of not taking the bull by the horns.
England, much like India, thought they had enough when they scored on the back of Jonathan Trott’s ninety-two and Ian Bell‘s eighty-one and their combined partnership of 167 to follow the ninety-one run partnership between Andrew Strauss ( no century third time ) and Kevin Pietersen with a half century. If those numbers were too much, many thought England’s total of 327 would be exactly that for Ireland.
For half of Ireland’s batting innings, it seemed that way. Only Kevin O’Brien was not buying it. And instead he and Alex Cusack went about resurrecting Ireland’s hopes, bit by bit. Ireland cannot be called minnows for chasing almost nine runs an over successfully. And they did it because of the blustery hitting of O’Brien and the strength of the partnership with Cusack, not to mention John Mooney who was not happy with taking four England wickets and going for those precious thirty-three runs as well.
But the star of the show was clearly the cricketer with the loud coloured hair. Kevin O’Brien thumped a weakened England bowling attack, with Stuart Broad on a comeback trail and Graeme Swann supposedly suffering a blow despite his three wickets. Clearly Bengaluru loves runs, and teams batting first should know nothing is enough on this track.
O’Brien let alone as if 300 runs meant nothing and that chasing nine runs an over was as easy as the finesse with which he hammered thirteen boundaries and six sixes en route to the fastest World Cup ODI century off only fifty balls! O’Brien eventually finished up on 113 runs as Ireland won by three wickets with five balls to spare!