O'Brien's fastest ton hands Ireland shock win
Dial O’Brien for bail out; the Irish fans must be chanting this after Wednesday’s thriller. Atreyo Mukhopadhyay reports. Ireland uncut| Scorecard| Fast and furiouscricket Updated: Mar 03, 2011 03:10 IST
Dial O’Brien for bail out; the Irish fans must be chanting this after Wednesday’s thriller. Elder sibling Niall had done the job for them against Pakistan in front of hundreds of fans in Ireland's greens at Kingston in 2007. Four years later, Kevin played a blinder to the delight of a handful of fans who came all the way from Ireland, expecting the unexpected.
There was a small bunch of Irish supporters at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday. Swaying to the beat dished out by a group of traditional drummers hired by the organisers, they were trying to enjoy this outing as much as possible. It appeared as if that was all they would get in terms of entertainment as England seemed to have ended the contest in the first half.
In an astonishing display of clean and bold hitting, Kevin brought the fans to their feet, left them delirious, and injected life into a match that had appeared dead till halfway through the Ireland innings.
Kevin’s belligerence helped Ireland achieve the highest successful chase in the history of the competition and left a promise that there might be more instances of underdogs biting, suddenly opening up Group B a bit.
There was no hint of the blizzard that hit England when they reduced Ireland to 111 for five in the 25th over. The asking rate was mounting and there was every reason to think they would lose the stomach for a fight. Aggressive from the start, Kevin looked like a man throwing his bat at everything, knowing that it was an effort in vain.
The ferocity of his strikes began increasing and with it the frequency of the ball scorching the turf to the fence or sailing over the rope.
Kevin's 100-run stand with Alex Cusack came off a mere 61 balls; and the two eventually plundered 162 runs in a mere 103 balls. In the process, Kevin sped away to the fastest century in World Cup history — off 50 balls, with 13 fours and five sixes.
The polished display of the England batsman looked ordinary after his incredible assault. Apart from the awe it commanded, the other highlight of Kevin's effort was the way he calmed down when the target became achievable. Content watching boundaries coming from the other end, he still wasn't there till the job was finished, but had done enough by then. Records galore
Apart from O’Brien’s fastest World Cup century record, it is also the highest successful chase in the World Cup.
Ireland bettered Sri Lanka’s effort of 313 in the 1992 World Cup against New Zealand at New Plymouth.