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Flashback: The day Ireland became the noisy neighbours by beating England at their own game

Was it really four years ago?

“IT’S INTO THE leg side, this is it, this is it…..this is it, take a bow Ireland. What a game of cricket, England cannot believe it. Terrific Ireland. Just look at these scenes.”

Cricket - 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup - England v Ireland - M Chinnaswamy Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

With the 2015 Cricket World Cup just days away it seems the most opportune time to rewind to four years ago and relive one of the most historic and significant days in Irish cricket.

2 March 2011 marked another landmark juncture in Ireland’s cricketing development as they announced themselves as the genuine antagonists to the established order they’ve become.

After losing their opening Group B game to co-hosts Bangladesh in disappointing fashion, Ireland were starring down the barrel of a second successive defeat in Bangalore as their chances of progressing to the knock-out stages were already disappearing.

England, who had tied with India in their opener, unsurprisingly elected to bat upon winning the toss at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and falf-centuries from Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott had put them in the ascendancy at the half-way stage.

India Cricket WCup England Ireland Source: AP/Press Association Images

Chasing 328 for victory is always a tall order, particularly in sub-continent conditions, but the task was made almost impossible when Ireland slumped to 111-5 in reply.

But, Kevin O’Brien produced the greatest innings of his life and arguably, given the circumstances, in World Cup history. In an International Cricket Council poll, his century – the fastest ever in the game’s show-piece event – was voted the second greatest moment of World Cup history.

O’Brien’s brutal 113 off just 63 balls pulled Ireland from the brink of submersion to completing one of the most remarkable run-chases and upsets ever seen.

From the second ball he faced, the all-rounder bludgeoned and swatted everything and anything towards or over the boundary as he put on a 162-run stand with Alex Cusack.

His first fifty took just 30 balls to reach, his second only 20 balls and having survived a dropped catch whilst on 91, he moved within a shot of history with a towering maximum into the concrete stands.

“There was nothing unorthodox or flukey about it. If he had been wearing an Australian shirt we would have hailed O’Brien for playing one of the great one-day innings and that’s how we should look at it now.” Former England captain Nasser Hussain


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Then, that indelible moment. A clip into the leg side, O’Brien immediately set off, shouting “two, two” to Cusack. Arms aloft, a punch of the air and a roar of pure, undiluted euphoria.

Source: Sachin Gadekar/YouTube

Yet, the job wasn’t done.

O’Brien eventually fell with 11 runs required but it was perhaps fitting that John Mooney and Trent Johnston were there at the end to see Ireland over the line with the former hitting the runs, sparking scenes that will forever live in the memory.


India Cricket WCup England Ireland Source: AP/Press Association Images

India Cricket WCup England Ireland Source: AP/Press Association Images


More of the same this year please, lads.

You can follow all the build-up to the Cricket World Cup on The42 here.

Do you remember the day Ireland announced themselves on the world stage by beating Pakistan?

Can O’Brien repeat his record-breaking century at this World Cup? He’s just hoping to do something half as special

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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