Fri, Mar 04, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Irish win shocks ‘shamed’ England

BANGALORE BLARNEY:Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Ireland’s Cricket World Cup victory would lift the nation’s spirits and was one of its finest sporting days

Agencies, LONDON

Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien plays a shot during the ICC Cricket World Cup match between England and Ireland on Wednesday in Bangalore, India.

Photo: AFP

England’s “shamed” cricketers came in for a slogging in the British press yesterday after they crashed to a humiliating defeat against minnows Ireland in their World Cup match in Bangalore.

“England shamed by O’Brien,” the tabloid Sun said in its headline.

“England were left looking like a pub side as Kevin O’Brien smashed the fastest ever World Cup century,” the paper said.

England looked to be cruising in Wednesday’s Group B match after scoring 327 and reducing Ireland to 111 for five. At that point, odds of an Ireland win were as long as 400-1.

However, all-rounder O’Brien, who had never reached fifty in his nine previous World Cup innings, blasted a scintillating century to turn the match on its head.

The Telegraph’s editorial attempted to put the shock three-wicket defeat into context.

“Over the years, England’s national sports teams have been on the wrong end of some infamous defeats,” it said. “Until yesterday, America’s 1-0 victory in the football World Cup of 1950 was probably the most notorious. But the extraordinary triumph of Ireland’s cricketers in their World Cup group match in Bangalore must rank alongside any sporting upset of yore.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew predicted England would find it hard to regroup after the breathtaking defeat.

“We’ve had a week of superlatives in Bangalore — the greatest matches, the greatest centuries in England’s game against India, but clearly as a one-day innings Kevin O’Brien’s magnificent 113 from 63 balls is up there with the best of them,” he said.

“England will be devastated by this result, [they] look like a team that will not go any further than the quarter-finals,” Agnew said.

Newly elected Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the team’s victory in India would lift the nation’s spirits.

“Ireland’s victory marks one of the finest days in Irish sport, and my warmest congratulations go out to each and every member of the squad after this historic win,” he said.

“Their supreme effort will lift the spirits of every single Irish person, no matter where they are in the world. Ireland’s performance is truly inspiring, demonstrating that, with self-belief, the apparently impossible can be made possible, and that real change can occur,” Kenny said.

Hurling and Gaelic football are Ireland’s most popular sports and many people barely knew Ireland was taking part in the World Cup.

That did not stop the celebrations, however.

“I caught the end of it in the betting shop,” said a Dublin taxi driver, who did not want to be named for fear his wife would discover he had been putting money on a horse.

“The horse lost, but it was nice to see us beat England,” he said.

S AFRICA V NETHERLANDS

REUTERS, MOHALI, INDIA

South Africa crushed the Netherlands by 231 runs in a lopsided Group B match to record their second successive victory in the World Cup yesterday.

Put into bat, Hashim Amla (113) and AB de Villiers (134) featured in a 221-run third wicket stand while JP Duminy (40) chipped in with a 15-ball cameo to propel South Africa to a commanding 351-5 at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.

South Africa showed the same business-like approach when they returned to defend the total, removing the Dutch top half by the time they reached the 100-mark and eventually bowling them out for 120 in 34.5 overs.

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