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Ireland shock England by 3 wickets

Bangalore: Kevin O’Brien smashed his way into record books with a fastest ever century in a World Cup match off 50 balls as Ireland pulled off the biggest upset beating England by 3 wickets in a group B encounter of the World Cup here on Wednesday.

It also turned out to be the highest successful run-chase ever in the history of the tournament with the previous best being 313 by Sri Lanka against Zimbabwe at New Plymouth in 1992.

Ireland, who earned the tag of giant-killers after ousting Pakistan from the previous edition chased a stiff target 328 in 49.1 overs courtesy an unbelievable 113 off 63 balls (13×4, 6×6) from O’Brien. No praise will be enough as Ireland were down in the dumps tottering at 111 for five when O’Brien and Alex Cusack came together.

He added 162 runs for the sixth wicket Cusack (47) and then 44 with John Mooney (33 not out, 30 balls, 4×6). By the time O’Brien was run-out, Ireland were within sniffing distance of their best-ever win.

The moment Mooney hit Anderson for a boundary of the first ball of the 50th over, it sparked wild celebrations in the Irish dressing rooms as the ‘Men in Green’ rushed out to congratulate the two unbeaten batsmen Mooney and Trent Johnston (7 not out).

O’Brien reached his century in 50 balls and hit 13 boundaries and six sixes in the process. He eclipsed Mathew Hayden’s previous record of hundred in 66 balls against South Africa at St Kitts during the previous edition.

Ireland lost their fifth wicket at 111 and it looked as if England will be wrapping up the proceedings fairly easily. But O’Brien had other ideas.

When he started by hitting England’s best bowler Graeme Swann for a couple of sixes over deep mid-wicket, little did anyone have inkling as to what was to follow. Before one could realise, the O’Brien carnage started.

He reached his 50 in only 30 balls with a pulled six off Anderson. With an able ally in Alex Cusack (47, 58 balls, 3×4, 1×6), O’Brien added a whopping 162 runs in only 17.1 overs at an average of over nine per over.

The turning point was the batting Powerplay in which Ireland scored 62 runs in five overs courtesy O’Brien. He hit Anderson over deep mid-wicket for the biggest six off the tournament which travelled a distance of 102 metres.

When O’Brien tapped Michael Yardy for a couple, the entire stadium gave him standing ovation.

It was brutal assault at its best. Although he hit a few cross batted shots but the burly Irish backed his instincts as he kept on assaulting the English bowlers. The win will also make ICC take a note about the performance of the minnows after some pretty lopsided contests.

Earlier it was Jonathan Trott’s run-a-ball 92 that enabled England to score 327 but little did they expect what would follow in the evening.

South Africa-born Trott equalled the record for the fastest 1,000 one-day international runs en route to his 92-run innings, which helped England post a commendable total at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here.

The 29-year-old Trott, who had made his ODI debut against Ireland in August 2009, added 167 runs off 156 balls for the fourth-wicket along with Ian Bell (81) to lay the foundation for the score.

Coming into bat at 91-1, Trott needed 64 runs to equal the fastest 1,000 ODI runs feat of teammate Kevin Pietersen and West Indies legend Viv Richards and he achieved it easily in the end.

Earlier, Andrew Strauss (34) and Kevin Pietersen (59) gave England a blistering start as they put the Irish bowlers to the sword, piling up 91 runs in 13.3 overs.

Pietersen started the proceedings for England, sending Boyd Rankin across the midwicket boundary. He meted the same treatment to the bowler off consecutive deliveries in his next over.

Stauss, who blasted 158 against India in the last match, soon got into the act and smashed a four off Johnston before sending Rankin for the first six of the day over the fine-leg boundary.

The duo kept dealing in boundaries and brought up the team fifty in 47 balls.

George Dockrell (1/68) finally broke the partnership, getting rid of Strauss for 34 on his 34th birthday. Trying to work the ball on the leg side, Strauss ended up losing his wicket, bowled by the left-arm spinner in the 14th over.

Pietersen, who reached his fifty in the 12th over, also didn’t stay long. Playing well till now, Pietersen threw his wicket away trying to play a reverse-dab, which culminated into an easy catch behind the stumps for Naill O’Brien as Paul Stirling picked up his first wicket in the 17th over.

Trott and Bell then joined hands and the duo mixed caution with aggression to keep the scoreboard ticking.

England took their batting powerplay after the 38th over with Trott and Bell in full flow and the duo didn’t disappoint as they compiled 45 runs off the five over to boost the total.

But Mooney dismissed Bell in the last ball of the 43rd over with Stirling taking a low diving catch at short midwicket, before cleaning up Trott in the 45th over to restrict England to 327 for eight.

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