England avenged their World Cup defeat against Ireland with an 11-run victory over the hosts in Thursday’s rain-affected one-day international at Clontarf.
The Irish were eyeing another famous win over England after restricting the visitors, captained by Dublin-born Eoin Morgan, to 201 for eight in 42 overs, but hopes of a repeat of Ireland’s World Cup victory in Bangalore in March were washed away by the constant drizzle that disrupted the hosts’ chances of establishing any momentum.
After two rain interruptions during Ireland’s innings, the target was reduced to 129 from 23 overs and England were able to maintain enough control in the closing stages to secure a relatively straightforward win.
Morgan, captaining England for the first time, admitted he had struggled at times to keep up with the Duckworth-Lewis Method for rain-affected matches.
“It was like being back at school to be honest, but I really enjoyed it,” Morgan said. “Coming on and off the field tested us a bit. The guys held their nerve at the end and did well.”
Former Ireland international Morgan was delighted by the reception he received, saying: “Everybody here’s very hospitable. Today, I got a great welcome, so thank you.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield said: “It was a bit frustrating coming on and off for rain. We gave it a crack, that’s all we could do. At halftime were pretty happy, but unfortunately the rain came again.”
Despite losing to Ireland in the World Cup, England opted to make a host of changes for the match and included three debutants in their team.
England’s understudies found it hard going as new boys James Taylor and Ben Stokes made just four between them.
The visitors were given the solid platform of a century stand between Morgan, who made 59, and Jonathan Trott, who top-scored for England with 69, but they failed to capitalize.
John Mooney took the new ball for Ireland in the absence of the injured Trent Johnston and started well, dismissing Craig Kieswetter for 14 when the wicketkeeper edged to Niall O’Brien, who took a smart low catch.
Taylor began his international debut with a risky single and his innings ended moments later when Boyd Rankin had him caught at midwicket from a mistimed pull.
Morgan hit George Dockrell for six after a rain-break and brought up his half-century from 52 balls, before Trott followed him to a half-century off his 78th delivery.
Paul Stirling made the crucial breakthrough when the off-spinner found Morgan’s leading edge and made a diving return catch.
With 10 overs remaining, England were at 139 for four, with a second debutant at the crease in Stokes.
The 20-year-old Durham all-rounder made just 3 before becoming Stirling’s second caught-and-bowled victim.
Trott’s 105-ball innings ended when his uncharacteristic heave off Mooney found Nigel Jones in the deep, but Chris Woakes and Scott Borthwick rallied in the closing overs to see England beyond 200.
Paul Stirling started Ireland’s chase by hitting a six over cover, but then he fell two balls later -attempting a second big blow off Steven Finn.
Ed Joyce, who won 17 one-day international caps for England before recommitting to Ireland, became Finn’s second victim when Kieswetter took a thin edge behind the stumps.
Kevin O’Brien, the man whose unforgettable 113 in 63 balls downed England at the World Cup, heaved his third and fourth balls over the ropes.