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Mischievous Ireland steal shock win


Ireland\'s John Mooney shouts as he celebrates Ireland\'s victory over England in their ICC Cricket World Cup group B match in Bangalore March 2, 2011

BANGALORE: Kevin O’Brien struck the fastest World Cup hundred as Ireland pulled off a sensational three-wicket win over England in the Group B match.

Ireland won with five balls to spare as they finished on 329 for seven after England, who had made 327 for eight, had been cruising when they reduced non-Test playing Ireland to 111 for five.

But a brilliant burst of power-hitting got O’Brien to three figures off just 50 balls at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. His innings broke former Australia opener Matthew Hayden’s previous fastest World Cup century record off 66 balls against South Africa at St Kitts in 2007.

O’Brien’s whirlwind innings of 113 off 63 balls, including six sixes and 13 fours, ended when he was run out by Stuart Broad’s throw to wicket-keeper Matt Prior.

Ireland’s target was down to three off the last over and victory was secured when John Mooney struck a four off James Anderson.

O’Brien ecstatic after upset

“I don’t think it’s quite sunk in,” said 26-year-old O’Brien, after another famous win to follow Ireland’s shock World Cup triumph over Pakistan in 2007.

“When we were five down I said to myself we could have just pottered around and got 220 off 50 overs for eight or nine and the game would have been pretty boring to watch.

“But I just chanced my arm i the given situation and said I was going to be as positive and didn’t look back.”

It was the highest successful run chase in World Cup history beating Sri Lanka’s 313 against Zimbabwe at New Plymouth in New Zealand in 1992

O’Brien shared a match-winning 162-run partnership with Alex Cusack, who made 47, for the sixth wicket.

Strauss dumbfounded

England captain Andrew Strauss said, “We thought we’d done a reasonable job with the bat and we got Ireland at five down.

“But we weren’t reckoning on an outstanding innings from Kevin O’Brien. It was pretty brutal.”

Innings to watch

O’Brien went to fifty in 30 balls when he pulled Anderson for six.

He then lofted fast-bowler Anderson for another maximum over midwicket, with television replays estimating the ball had carried for 102 metres, the longest of this year’s World Cup.

O’Brien did have a break on 91 when a huge skyer off Paul Collingwood was dropped by Strauss who looked on in horror as the Irish celebrated another Cup shock.