Last Sunday, I had started to write a post about the India- England tie game. I almost completed it, but then it completely escaped my mind and I didn’t even bother completing it. Now I know why. It was because there was going to be a better Match to write about. Not saying the India-England was less fun, but this was a cracker,probably the best of the World Cup, unless some more beauties are yet to come.
Setting a target of 300 runs and above has become an everyday affair this World Cup. Chasing it down or getting close to it, another ordinary feat. I remember the time in ODI cricket, where if you had 300 on the board, you were pretty sure the game was yours, much to the contrary today.
Last night’s match was one of the greatest World Cup upsets I have ever witnessed. Last world cup, the Irish beat Pakistan, this year they beat the English, chasing down 328. To be honest, I was pretty surprised England got to just 327; they way they were going at one stage, I reckoned they’d get to not less than 340-350. Ireland pulled it back it well. When it was Ireland’s turn to bat, I didn’t think they’d even come close, giving England a big win; after their captain Porterfield was dismissed first ball of the innings. Stirling and Niall O’Brien took it then to the English bowlers but were dismissed soon after. All of a sudden, the Irish were 111-5 and it was pretty much over most would've thought, but then, in walked Kevin O’ Brien.
He was indeed a surprise package last night, much to the delight of plenty! Maybe his new hair-do worked well for him. He took it to every English bowler right from the onset. His partnership with Cusack proved vital in Ireland’s run-chase. Together they put on 162 runs! Kevin O’Brien got his fabulous and entertaining century in exactly 50 balls, the fastest ever in World Cup history, beating Matty Hayden to it who took 66 balls for his century in the last World Cup. If he would stay till the end, Ireland was sure to win it, but he got run-out towards the end. But some great cameos by Johnston and Mooney saw Ireland through and what a victory it was for them! By the end, they chased down the highest total ever in WC history.
Just an observation, I think Ireland took the batting powerplay at a very good time. If England would’ve taken the batting PP at that stage, around 31 overs, against India, they would’ve won that game. Maybe Ireland didn’t have much to lose at that point, but a well-picked powerplay got them 67 runs and out them in a great position from there. The batting power-play hasn’t been used too well by most teams. Australia is by far the team to have performed the best during the batting powerplay in terms of scoring runs. It is crucial, since it can be ‘make or break’ a match thereafter.
After last night’s win, I personally think Ireland should be given test status; more so to stop England importing players from Ireland, like of course Eoin Morgan. They are a very capable team and it would be nice to have them competing in test cricket. They beat the mighty English, a reason more.
No surprises as to who the man of the moment was, but it was somebody else’s ‘special’ day. In all of that one thing was forgotten; it was Andrew Strauss’s 34th birthday. It will be one he will always remember, not because he scored 34 on this 34th birthday, but because his side was beaten by the Irish who chased down 328!! Surely a day the Irish and the English will never forget, ever. Fantastic game of cricket!! Whoever on earth said ODIs weren’t fun anymore?
I would really like the ICC not tainting this match by investigating into match-fixing possibilities and all of that, not because the Irish won, but because their inspired performance will be looked up to, by heaps of teams waiting to get there.