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ICC Cricket World Cup 2011: Ireland Defeat England in Dramatic Run Chase

Ireland defeated England in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Group B match on the evening of Wednesday 2nd March 2011 after completing a dramatic run chase with only a handful of balls remaining.

After being set a total of 327 for 8 wickets in 50 overs by England, Ireland, aided by a remarkable fastest ever World Cup century from Kevin O’Brien (113), passed the England total with three wickets in hand and five balls remaining, reaching 329 for 7 from 49.1 overs, meaning Ireland won by 3 wickets.

England won the toss and elected to bat.

England looked a little blasé at the crease, with Strauss (34), fresh from his brilliant innings against India, and Pietersen (59) both getting out cheaply.

Andrew Strauss rode his luck early in the innings when a thick top-edge went all the way for six when he could easily have been caught had the ball dropped just one or two metres shorter. Strauss got out going for another shot that wasn’t quite there from the bowling of Dockrell, as he stepped away and attempted an awkward looking slog to leg. The ball simply turned a little and hit the stumps, making the score 91 for 1 wicket.

Pietersen, who had hit some powerful boundaries for his 59 runs, which included seven 4s and two 6s, got out going for a bored-looking reverse sweep which spooned straight up to wicket-keeper O’Brien from the bowling of Stirling. Pietersen had seemed well in and on course to make a good total before playing this unnecessary shot.

Trott (92 from 92 deliveries) made a quick half century, and went on to top score with 92 runs, while Bell (81 from 86 deliveries) also passed the 50 mark at the other end, during a partnership that put on 167 runs for the third wicket.

When Bell went, it was simply to a great catch, as he went for an on drive from an attempted yorker, bowled by Mooney, which Stirling pouched two-handed, diving away to his left, with the ball otherwise travelling to the fence. The score was 278 for 3 wickets.

Trott, who looked set for a century, was soon following Bell back in, after he inside edged an attempted straight drive onto his stumps, giving Mooney his second wicket, this time from a slower ball – 288 for 4 wickets.

Prior (6) was clean bowled by a Johnson yorker, with the batsman stepping back looking to slog.

In the final four overs of the innings, when England should have been capitalising upon the strong platform the top four had built, Ireland restricted their test-playing neighbours by taking wickets: Collingwood went for 16; Yardy went for 3 and Bresnan went for 4 runs, caught on the final delivery from the bowling of Mooney.

Swann was again Not Out for his 9 runs.

The pick of the Irish bowlers was Mooney who, while a little expensive, picked up the important wickets at vital moments en route to collecting 4 for 63 from 9 overs.

Ireland had a big task, needing a chase of 328 for the win, but, on a benign wicket, it definitely appeared to be an achievable target, that is, until James Anderson clean bowled opener Porterfield with the first delivery of the innings. Porterfield went to drive a wide delivery and played on, perhaps a little unfortunately, with his first shot of the evening.

Stirling (32) and Joyce (32), however, helped settle Ireland into a better position, with a 62 run partnership.

Paul Stirling eventually fell playing across the line at a slightly short Tim Bresnan delivery, which went straight up in the air before coming down with Kevin Pietersen’s hands underneath it.

Ed Joyce then played an action replay of Stirling’s shot – albeit the other way around from the left-hander – which did not carry as far, and fell between three England fielders, with James Anderson getting his fingertips to the ball before it hit the ground.

Worse was to follow for England, though, as Joyce again went for a pull shot, and hit another top edge, this time it went straight up in the air behind him, high over Matt Prior the England wicket-keeper. Even with the gloves on, Prior managed to drop what looked a dolly of a catch.

Then it was Anderson’s turn to drop the ball, this time over the fence for six runs, from the bowling of Swann.

Swann did get his man soon after when he bowled Niall O’Brien (29), but the missed opportunities would come back to haunt England later in the innings.

Ed Joyce (32) finally ran out of luck when a ball from Swann beat him all ends up and Matt Prior whipped the bails off for a well taken stumping with the score on 106 for 4 wickets, and England looking back on track for victory.

5 runs later, Swann had another wicket, as he collected Wilson, who missed a sweep, LBW. 111 for 5.

At this point, Kevin O’Brien entered the field, with Ireland needing 217 to win from 25.4 overs – a rate of more than 8 an over.

O’Brien (113)  and Cusack (47) made a 50 partnership in just 31 deliveries, with O’Brien picking up two sixes with two slog sweep shots that sailed over the boundary rope.

O’Brien rode his luck a little too, with four runs coming from the edge of his bat two or three times, one of which took the partnership over 100 from just 61 balls.

Kevin O’Brien hit a huge six from James Anderson over long on at the end of an over from which Ireland took 17 runs.

Another dropped catch came soon after, when Andrew Strauss, usually a reliable fieldsman, dropped a high shot from O’Brien, from the bowling of Collingwood. The Irishman was on 84 runs at the time.

Yardy then put down a smart caught and bowled opportunity which might have stuck on another day, this time it was Cusack benefiting from a lucky break.

Having both now been dropped, O’Brien and Cusack set about punishing England by hitting further boundaries. In the process, Kevin O’Brien picked up the fastest century in the history of the Cricket World Cup: 100 runs from only 50 balls.

Cusack was run out by some smart fielding from Collingwood with the score on 273 for 6 to give England hope of curtailing the Irish chase at the death.

With Ireland needing 12 runs from the final 12 deliveries, it seemed O’Brien would take them home, however, he was run out at this stage, setting up a nervy final couple of overs. O’Brien had knocked 113 runs from 63 deliveries when Matt Prior took the bails off with the Irishman’s bat just inches from the crease.

Ireland were 317 for 7, with 11 deliveries remaining.

Ireland, through Mooney (34 from 30 deliveries) and Johnson (7 from 4 deliveries) ensured that they got the job done as soon as possible, as England’s bowlers were wayward in their yorker efforts, instead serving up full-tosses, which were taken advantage of. Ireland eventually passed England’s total with 5 balls to spare, hitting a boundary which took them to 329 for 7.

The story of this match was quite simply a phenomenal innings by Kevin O’Brien, however, he was helped along by a hat-full of English dropped catches – several of which were of village cricket standard. England also failed to accelerate their innings with the bat: Trott and Bell took only one boundary from a batting power play, against some moderate bowling – they will need to do better in future games if they are to ensure their progress to the Quarter Final stage.

That being said, Ireland fully deserved their victory, and batted well right through their team, timing their innings to perfection, and winning with almost an over to spare.

This was yet another enthralling ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 encounter on a good batting track. Both sides will hope to bowl more economically for the conditions next time out, but, for pure entertainment value, matches like this, with the ball sailing frequently into the stands, are pleasing to the spectators.

Ireland will pose a serious threat to any side they meet in this tournament, with any reproduction of this effort.

England v Ireland – ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Scorecard

England won the toss and elected to bat.

England 1st InningsRuns Balls 4s 6s
Straussb Dockrell343721
Pietersenc N O’Brienb Stirling595072
Trottb Mooney929290
Bellc Stirlingb Mooney818661
Collingwoodc K O’Brienb Mooney161101
Priorb Johnston6510
Bresnanc Johnstonb Mooney4800
Yardyb Johnston3600
Swannnot out9510
Extras20w 1b 2lb 23
Totalfor 8327(50.0 ovs)
Ireland BowlersO MR W
Ireland 1st InningsRuns Balls 4s 6s
Porterfieldb Anderson0100
Stirlingc Pietersenb Bresnan322851
Joycest Priorb Swann326130
N O’Brienb Swann293621
Wilsonlbwb Swann31400
K O’Brienrun out (Bresnan)11363136
Cusackrun out (Collingwood)475831
Mooneynot out343060
Johnstonnot out7410
Extras12w 5b 15lb 32
Totalfor 7329(49.1 ovs)
England BowlersO M R W

Ireland won by 3 wickets, with 5 balls remaining.

About Sport Desk

Stories from the Sport Desk at The Global Herald.

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