March 3, 2011
From Dublin to Belfast the people of Northern and Republic of Ireland came together yesterday to witness what has to be the greatest ODI victory of all time. Records tumbled on a day that English cricket will never forget for the wrong reasons. Ireland chased down 328 for victory yesterday in Bangalore which was the highest run chase in World Cup cricket and sparked wild celebrations within the ground and back home in the proud provinces.
At 111/5 enter Kevin O’Brien. Needing a miracle to get even close to their target, O’Brien reordered the fastest World Cup hundred in history, which turned England’s world upside down. O’Brien’s blistering attack on every English bowler was hitting as good as I have ever seen. Matthew Hayden, the previous owner of the faster World Cup century reached three figures against South Africa in 2007 off, what now appears a snail’s pace, 66 balls. O’Brien just required 50 to reach the landmark.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, at half way Andrew Strauss would have felt the game was secure, especially when the first ball of the Irish reply cannoned into William Porterfield’s leg stump. Ireland got everything they deserved from yesterday’s encounter, and do be brutally honest, so did England. England’s bowling and fielding in this tournament has been as bad, if not worse, than any club team in the country.
England’s fielding displays have been so poor that it is hard to even find an explanation, because we have seen what they are capable of. Perhaps a few days off is what the team needs, rather than more fielding drills. As for the bowling, this has been the real disappointment. Again, England’s bowling plans have not worked for them. What makes it worse is the attitude of Swann, Broad and Anderson when they do serve up deliveries that are being easily dispatched. It’s never their fault. Either the fielding was poor, or their fielders are in the wrong place. I suggest it may be time to look in the mirror rather than blaming the guys who were a major reason for their success in Australia in the Ashes.
Ireland will feel that they are right back in the hunt for a quarter final place, and no team will enjoy facing these boys, especially with these new look haircuts.
For England, this is a wake-up call that will go one of two ways. It can make teams stronger if they can turn things around, if not then we will see the blue tracksuits arrive at Heathrow a bit earlier than first thought.