first_imgIreland’s Kevin O’Brien scored the fastest century of the World Cup as his team caused the biggest upset of the tournament beating England by three wickets. Score | PhotosSuch was the irony of the match that saw Ireland rise above their “minnows” tag and chase down a three hundred plus total against England in their World Cup Group B match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Wednesday.Chasing 328, the Irish team started off as minnows losing wickets regularly even as the England bowlers made merry.Sitting on 111/5, Ireland had no hope of coming back into the game until, Kevin O’Brien along with Alex Cusack decided to turn the match on its head.The duo batted on to milk the English bowlers just the like the way the England batsmen had down to their bowlers earlier.It wasn’t as if the earlier Irish batsmen didn’t try. They did but failed even as Paul Stirling and and Ed Joyce, who had represented England in the last World Cup in 2007, scored 32 each – the highest till Kevin and Cusack came to the crease.Kevin’s brother Niall O’Brien had managed to scored 29 before England offie Graeme Swann got the better of him. In the 21st over Swann claimed him with a ball that skid through to crash against O’Brien’s stumps. He fell for 29 and Ireland slumped to 103/3.Swann hadn’t finished as yet and he made sure that Joyce didn’t stay on for long. His turner beat him and keeper Matt Prior removed the bails off from this stumps. Joyce fell for 32 and Ireland slumped to 106/4. In the 25th over, Swann struck again to send home Gary Wilson leg before as Ireland went down to 111/5.advertisementBut, the game was far from over for Ireland.Soon Kevin and Cusack came to the crease and did something no one could have imagined, attempt a revival. They charged down at the England bowlers with gusto and numbed their attack with their flurry of strokes.Kevin scored competed his half-century off just 30 balls. But he was hungry for more and went on hit more boundaries and over the fence shots even the once daunting target seemed gettable.Getting good support from his partner Alex Cusack, he Ireland cross 200-run mark.Post his fifty Kevin let loose a flurry boundaries and sixes taking up the England challenge in his stride. More drama followed when batting in the 90’s England skipper Andrew Strauss dropped him off Collingwood.Then it was Cusack’s turn to get a brush with luck as Michael Yardy dropped him off his own bowling. At this stage the England team seemed to come under pressure.It was then Kevin realised that the England had come under pressure and he upped the tempo to complete his ton and that too is impressive fashion. Scoring it off just 50 balls – the fasted in World Cup history.Unfortunately, Cusack got run out in Stuart Broad’s over, missing his half-century by 47. But, Kevin was still at the crease. With new man John Mooney, he brought the scores at par with the number of balls.Finally, he too was run out in the 49th over with an impressive 113 written against his name. His fine innings was decorated with 13 fours and six over the fence shots.The best part was that Ireland reached the target with five balls remaining.England inningsEarlier, Jonathan Trott put on 92 runs as England put on 327/8 on board. England skipper Andrew Strauss won the toss and elected to bat against the punching bags Ireland.Clearly England wanted their batsmen to get some good match-practice ahead of their big game against South Africa on Sunday.Captain Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen started off with all guns blazing. Clearly, the two were having a ball at the cost of the Irish bowlers, who looked like novices in front of them.After much effort Ireland managed to break their partnership with 18-year-old George Dockrell claiming Strauss. The ball crashed into Strauss’ stumps on 34.Strangely enough, Strauss fell for 34 on his 34th birthday. England were 91/1 at this stage.With Strauss gone, the other opener Kevin Pietersen too lost his rhythm and departed. Pietersen tried to play a reverse sweep on offie Paul Stirling but failed and ended up giving a top edge to keeper Niall O’Brien on 59. An England lost their second wicket on 111/2 on the last ball of the 17th over.But England were hardly concerned, no wonder that Ireland are rank outsiders in this tournament. Soon, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell got on with a partnership milking the opposition bowlers at ease. The two put on 167 runs for the third wicket even as the Irish bowlers lost hope of producing a breakthrough.advertisementHowever, the breakthrough did come about for Ireland when on the last ball of the 43rd over Bell went for a big hit off John Mooney’s full toss. Stirling leaped and plucked the ball mid-air and Bell was walking back on 81 with 278/3 on board.There was more in store for Ireland. An over later Trott too departed with Mooney uprooting his stumps when he was just 8 runs shy of his century. He fell for 92 and England fell to 288/4.With Trott and Bell in the pavilion, Ireland pressed further and were rewarded. First Trent Johnston claimed Prior and then Mooney scalped his third wicket of the day in the form of Paul Collingwood at death.The way England were batting earlier, a 350-plus score wasn’t far, but thanks to Mooney and Johnston, who restricted them to 327/8 in 50 overs. Money finished with a four-wicket haul.last_img

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