Cricket World Cup: St Paddy’s day has come early…
When you think of Ireland, you think of rugby, Guinness, rolling hills and pots of gold, but cricket? England will be fuming at the, once again, lazy performance in the field, but the men from the Emerald Isle will not mind a touch.
We all remember the famous win against Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup, but this is a different feeling altogether. The prolific bowling performance in Jamaica sent Bob Woolmer’s side home in the group stage after a series of dire performances, but to emerge victorious over arch-rivals England is a story that will be written down in Irish folklore.
Ireland were under-par in the field as England set about hitting their fourth highest total in World Cup history. Even with England’s poor run in the field, no-one would have foreseen the impending onslaught, especially when the minnows fell to 111-5.
Kevin O’Brien will be welcomed home a national hero, even if the Irish do not qualify, a victory of such proportion will not be forgotten quickly. His sheer power combined with ruthless intent allowed him to free himself to England’s ever erratic bowling.
Every drop of confidence that ebbed into the Dubliner came from an England side pleading for his wicket. But along with the fastest century in World Cup history, he also comprehensively displayed the ‘wow’ factor that the David v Goliath games had been lacking.
Take nothing away from the lion-hearted efforts of Ireland, but the lack of tenacity in the field by England cost them dear. Five dropped catches, including that of O’Brien on 91, epitomised what could have been Strauss and co’s worst fielding performance yet.
Three of England’s five highest scores in World Cup history have come at this tournament, and only one victory has been achieved, is it sheer mental fatigue? Or are the players simply running on empty? James Anderson was once again below his best, albeit in economical fashion, while Graeme Swann provided the most prolific threat to the Irish, taking 3-47 from his alloted overs.
Stuart Broad, perhaps still a touch out off prime fitness levels, struggled for consistency was seemingly brought back prematurely. But the bowlers cannot be blamed alone, the spills from Matt Prior, James Anderson (twice), Michael Yardy and Strauss himself consigned England to defeat, even before John Mooney had blasted Ireland’s winning runs.
At 111-5 the Irish had been labelled at 400-1 for victory by one betting firm, an aspect that epitomised the determination, passion and sheer bloody-mindedness of a comeback that will struggle to be beaten. Having broken all kinds of records in World Cup history, including the highest run-chase, William Porterfield’s men have given this tournament a fresh, and unusual look. Just what was needed.Tagged in: Cricket, england, ireland, strauss
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