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Ireland Cricket: Five of their Best Victories

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Five of the Best Ireland Cricket Victories

Ireland Cricket: Five of their Best Victories

Cometh the hour, cometh Kevin O’Brien.

With startling symmetry to events in Bangalore nine years ago, Kevin O’Brien was England’s Kryptonite once again at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday night.

In India, O’Brien recorded the fastest century in World Cup history to steer Ireland to within 11 runs of a record setting run chase. Although he wasn’t the man to strike the fatal blow that night, he got his chance in the fading light in Southampton.

Chasing the same 329 run target as nearly a decade before, O’Brien entered the fray with five overs remaining and – needing eight from the final six balls – struck the winning run with one ball to spare.

England captain Eoin Morgan had hit an impressive 104 earlier in the day to set his former side the now-famous 329 target. They’d chased it down once, but surely not again.

However, centuries from Paul Stirling (the only other survivor from Bangalore) and captain Andy Balbirnie powered Ireland to 279-3, setting the stage for pantomime villain O’Brien – alongside 20-year old Harry Tector– to have the last laugh.

In honour of their landmark victory on English soil, this article looks back on five famous Ireland cricketing victories from years gone by, including, unsurprisingly, that March night in Bangalore.

Five of the Best Ireland Cricket Victories

Ireland vs Scotland (2006 European Cricket Championships)

In just their second official ODI – the first a 38 run defeat to England – Ireland recorded their inaugural limited overs victory, beating Scotland by 85 runs. Competing in the European Cricket Championships, matches between Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands were awarded ODI status and the Men in Green seized the opportunity with both (gloved) hands.

Batting first at the Cambusdoon New Ground in Ayr, future England captain Eoin Morgan starred as Ireland posted an encouraging 240-8. Morgan struck 99 off 134 balls but was run out one score shy of becoming his country’s first ODI centurion.

In reply Scotland were all out for 155 inside 42 overs. Dave Langford-Smith and Andre Botha were the pick of the bowlers, the former removing Scotland’s top three; the latter conceding an economical nine runs from five overs.

Unfortunately, rain stopped play in their only other official match of the tournament, with the Netherlands at 125-5 chasing 275. However, having already defeated Denmark and Italy, Ireland were crowned champions and earned a spot in Division One of the 2007 World Cricket League.

Ireland vs Pakistan (2007 ICC Cricket World Cup)

In their first World Cup match, Ireland tied with Zimbabwe and Jeremy Bray scored their first World Cup century. In their second, they rocked the ICC’s boat with so much force that a full member fell overboard.

Pakistan were ranked fourth in the world. Ireland were 13th. Pakistan had won the 1992 Cricket World Cup. A year later, Ireland achieved Associate Member status. But in Kingston, Jamaica on March 17th, none of that mattered.

Putting Pakistan in to bat, wickets tumbled as Ireland bowled the Falcons out for 132. Extras (29) outscored every Pakistan batter whilst Boyd Rankin collected a three-fer and Botha proved his worth with another economical contribution (8-4-5-2).

Chasing 127 from 47 overs owing to rain and bad light, Ireland made light work of the Pakistani bowlers. Man of the match Niall O’Brien hit 72 off 107 whilst younger brother Kevin was in at the end, chipping in with 16no.

Having lost to the West Indies in their opening match, Pakistan were eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage for the second successive tournament. Ireland, meanwhile, progressed to the Super 8s and recorded a 74 run victory against Bangladesh before returning to Dublin as heroes.

Ireland vs Bangladesh (2009 ICC World Twenty20)

Another World Cup first, another man of the match performance by Niall O’Brien.  Despite qualifying for their first T20 World Cup, Ireland entered the tournament under a cloud. Like Ed Joyce before him and Boyd Rankin several years later, Eoin Morgan had been poached by England, all but ending his career for the Green Whites.

Grouped with world leading India and established cricketing nation Bangladesh, it seemed that Ireland’s World Cup journey would be brief. However, Niall O’Brien had other ideas.

Walking to the middle with Ireland at 6-1, O’Brien senior smashed 40 from 25 balls for a second wicket stand of 55 with captain William Porterfield. Porterfield himself contributed a useful 23 before John Mooney and Kevin O’Brien posted a combined 49 to secure Ireland’s highest successful run chase (138) of their brief T20 career.

Ireland arrived at Trent Bridge for the group stage having never played a T20 World Cup match or faced a full member side. Despite losing to India by eight wickets, they left Nottingham with a huge upset in their kit bag and a spot in the Super 8s. Ireland lost all three matches against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand to exit the tournament, but had once again exceeded all expectations.

Ireland vs England (2011 ICC Cricket World Cup)

March 2nd, 2011 is etched into the memory of Irishmen everywhere as arguably the country’s greatest ever sporting victory. In the unlikely setting of Bangalore, Ireland – ranked 12th in the world – produced the highest run chase in World Cup history (329) to stun England and the whole cricket community.

Entering the match off the back of a thrilling tie against India, Kevin Pietersen (59), Jonathan Trott (92) and Ian Bell (81) recorded half centuries as England demolished Ireland’s bowlers. Posting a huge 327-8, the match was all but won and Ireland seemingly just had pride to play for.

That was until Kevin O’Brien approached the crease. With Ireland at 106-4, the 26-year old – without a World Cup half century to his name – crashed a brutal 113 off just 63 balls to bring Ireland within touching distance of a record win. O’Brien’s knock, which included 13 fours and six sixes, was the fastest century in World Cup history, eclipsing Matthew Hayden’s record by 16 balls.

O’Brien was run out in the penultimate over with Ireland 11 runs shy of victory, leaving John Mooney to smash the match winning boundary off the first ball of the final over. With five balls to spare Ireland had completed the unlikeliest of victories, setting numerous records in the process, and briefly sat above England in the table.

Despite exiting the tournament in the group stage, Ireland ended the tournament on a high following a six wicket victory over the Netherlands. However, no result until 2020 could come close to rivaling the highs of Bangalore.

Ireland vs West Indies (2015 ICC Cricket World Cup)

As is hopefully becoming clear, Ireland enter World Cup’s as the underdog and regularly leave with an outstanding scalp. The 2015 World Cup was no different.

Ireland began their campaign in Nelson, against a West Indies side that included Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Daren Sammy, and was captained by a young Jason Holder. After slipping to 87-5, Lendl Simmons and Sammy produced a 154-run sixth wicket stand to help the Windies post a healthy 304-7. Simmons hit 102 from 84 balls to lead the scoring for the Men in Maroon whilst Andy McBrine conceded just 26 runs from his 10 overs to limit Ireland’s losses.

However, here’s a stat that’s worth knowing. Of the nine successful run 300+ run chases in World Cup history, Ireland have completed three of them…

Paul Stirling struck a man of the match winning 92, posting stands of 71 with captain Porterfield and 106 with the Irish-again Ed Joyce, to put Ireland in the driving seat. Exiting the field with Ireland 177-2, he was replaced by the elder O’Brien who – alongside Joyce – steered Ireland to within 32 runs of another famous victory.

The West Indies struck back with three wickets in 17 balls but couldn’t prevent John Mooney (partnering O’Brien) from hitting the winning runs once again, this time with four overs to spare.

After recording their fourth World Cup win over a Test side, Ireland went on to defeat UAE and Zimbabwe in 2015 tournament but missed out on a place in the knockout stage on net run rate.

 

We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Five Famous Ireland Cricket Victories’. Which is your favourite Ireland victory? Let us know!

 

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Geographer turned sports journalist. Firmly believe that ice hockey is the best spectator sport around. Roger Federer enthusiast, occasional cycling fan and long suffering Hammer. Often found batting far too high up the order.

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