Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ICC-CWC-2011. Gr.B. Match.15. England vs Ireland

England 327 for 8, lost to Ireland 329/7 by three wickets. Salute the Irish team. They played the game like true champions and thoroughly deserved their victory.

England won a good toss and elected to bat on a benign wicket. Strauss and Pietersen gave a good start of 91 runs in 13.3 overs, when Strauss 34 of 37 balls, was deceived by a beautiful floater by Dockrell. Pietersen was taken in the seventeenth over by Stirling for a well made 59 of 50 balls. Trott 92 of 92 and Ian Bell 81 of 86 added 166 in 26 overs. At 288 for 4 in the 45th over, England seemed to be heading for 340 to 350. It was not to be, as the Irish bowled the end overs intelligently and fielded as if their life depended on it. England was restricted to 327 for 8 wickets at 50 over mark. Mooney bowled brilliantly to take 4 wickets for 63, well supported by Johnston, Dockrell and Stirling.

Ireland lost its skipper Porterfield in the first ball of the over, bowled Anderson for nought. Stirling and Joyce who made 32 runs each, added 62 runs for the second wicket, when Stirling was taken by Bresnen in the10th over. NJ O'Brien 29 of 36 fell at 103, to be followed by Joyce at 106 runs in the 23 rd over. Wilson fell in the twenty fifth over, and at 5 down for 111, Ireland were looking down the barrel, and England in heaven.

In walked KJ O'Brien and England did not know what hit them. He blasted his way to a memorable, record breaking century of just 50 balls, and in company of AR Cussack, who played intelligently for 47 of 58,and rotated the strike well, added 162 runs in seventeen overs. At 273 for six, it was still England's game. Mooney joined O'Brien and played sensibly for 33 of 30 balls and added 44 runs for the seventh wicket. O'Brien was run out, the only way he could have got out today, at 317 in the 48.1 overs. Mooney in the company of Johnston finished the match in the next six balls, clouting a four of the first ball of the 50th over. other than Swann's three for 47, no other bowler needs a mention.

The Irish were ecstatic, and England shell shocked. England lost the match due to poor bowling, fielding and over confidence, though Strauss did not say so in the post match interview.

Both India and England from Group B, are playing in similar fashion, with batting as the only strength. Teams can not win World Cup on one strength. Irish have performed well against Bangladesh & England. India need to be on their toes to end up winners against them.

The so called Minnows in Group B , Netherlands and Ireland, have performed beyond expectation. With West Indies finding their touch, the quarter final slot cannot be taken for granted. Let us wait and watch.

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