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'The day a pink-haired Irishman and his pals duffed up England' - the international reaction

The world sat up and took notice when Ireland’s cricketers stunned the English yesterday.

WHILE ENGLAND’S CRICKET stars woke to a flogging from their own press this morning, Ireland’s World Cup heroes are the toast of the world’s media.

Kevin O’Brien’s record-breaking century propelled the so-called minnows to their most famous win, leaving the international press struggling to put the fairytale in context.

ESPN’s influential cricket writer Dileep Premachandran trawled through Italia ’90 stats, Six Nations history and Cricket World Cup records, before settling on an exotic comparison.

“So, where do we slot Kevin O’Brien and this innings for the ages? The only comparison that makes sense to me is with another team that played in green 42 years ago. The New York Jets were huge underdogs going into Super Bowl III against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts, but Joe Namath played the game of his life to upset the odds.

“The Jets were part of the much-derided American Football League, the new kids on the block. Against the might of the National Football League, they weren’t given a chance. Their win paved the way for parity, for a level playing field.”

The Times of India hailed the input of an Irish visiting group that adds yet more intrigue to an already exciting tournament.  ”So then! It was an amazing batting display from the Ireland team,” they exclaim, “This game has certainly ignited the World Cup. England on the other side, would be wondering about how to get their bowling combination right.”

The lads in the Wall Street Journal ignored the final bell as they crowded around a Canal St bar TV to catch the last few overs. One imagines.

Unsurprisingly, their focus is on the financial rewards rather than the romance of the win:

“After that performance, the owners of Indian Premier League franchises might be wishing there was another auction for players in the few days between the end of the World Cup and the start of the 2011 IPL tournament. O’Brien would surely fetch a high price, but he will have to wait until next year for an IPL opportunity.

“Wednesday was all about the magic of the World Cup. It was a rare upset and will be remembered for years to come: the day a pink-haired Irishman and his pals duffed up England.”

The Hindustan Times described our boys as: “gutsy, low-profile Ireland” whose “magnificent win against England must be one of  the most heartwarming – and least expected – stories in World Cup history.

“Who would have thought when we started on February 19? Most fans were waiting for the dreariness and unequal contests of the opening round to be out of the way before the excitement of the knockout stages.”

The excellent First Post seemed surprised we even had bats and pads: “England’s campaign, which hit rare heights on Sunday during the epic draw with India, plumbed extraordinary depths on Wednesday, as Andrew Strauss’s side were humiliated by minnows Ireland, who had never before beaten their neighbours in any form of the game, as records tumbled in Bangalore.”

And though you’d expect plenty of Pommie-sledging from those Down Under, the Sydney Morning Herald, like Dragnet, wants, just the facts, ma’am.

“Kevin O’Brien struck the fastest-ever World Cup hundred as Ireland pulled off a sensational three-wicket win over England overnight,” they write, “Ireland won with five balls to spare as they finished on 7-329 after England, who had made 8-327, had been cruising when they reduced non-Test playing Ireland to 5-111.”

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