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England v Ireland, 3rd ODI, Southampton – Record-breaking run chase helps Ireland seal 10 points

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A record-breaking highest run chase brought Ireland 10 much-needed points to kickstart their ICC ODI Super League campaign. After failing to achieve success batting first twice in the series, their decision of opting to bowl first this time seemed to have paid off initially.

An away swinger from Craig Young accounted for Jason Roy in the first over itself, as Roy fended at it, presented Andy Balbirnie with a sitter and departed for a third successive low score. Three overs later, Mark Adair, playing his first game of the series, produced a wonderful, late in-ducker to beat Jonny Bairstow’s ambitious drive and knock his stumps over.

The arrival of captain Morgan to the crease saw the run rate starting to rise, with boundaries from both the left-hander and his partner James Vince, who seemed to get off to a good start yet again.

A brute of a delivery from Craig Young at the beginning of the 9th over slashed James Vince and his chances to convert yet another good start to something big in half, as the ball seamed back in from a length, took a thin inside edge and went into Lorcan Tucker’s gloves. The umpire was unsure of the nick first, having adjudged Vince not out, but the Irish fielders were swift to opt for a review, which confirmed his dismissal.

Three wickets down, the opposition bowling decently, a relatively inexperienced batting line-up to follow, none of that seemed to bother Eoin Morgan.

An onslaught of epic proportions followed from the Ireland born England captain. A cracking cover drive followed three balls later from him.

Tom Banton, taking a leaf out of his skipper’s book, did not let left-arm seamer Joshua Little settle in his first over, punching him off the back foot for consecutive boundaries through extra cover.

Two more fours followed from both the batsmen in the next over, and soon enough, they were scoring at over six an over. Morgan brought up his fifty in the 15th over with a single off Curtis Campher, a ball after he had come down the pitch smoked him over the long-off ropes.

The introduction of off-spinner Andy McBrine did not bring any joy to the Irish, as Morgan continued to make merry with the bowling, being particularly severe on young Campher. Ireland’s fielders did not back their bowlers either.

A mistimed pull from Morgan off McBrine presented Balbirnie at deep mid-wicket with a chance, which he could not hold on to. A barrage of boundaries followed from the pair, as England reached the 150 run mark within the 23rd over. Individual landmarks were to follow for the two batsmen; Banton, who was under pressure of performing in this game after failures in the last two, brought up his maiden ODI fifty in the next over, nudging McBrine to mid-wicket.

The over after that, Morgan brought up his 14th hundred, the second-most by an Englishman, with a four whistling past the bowler.

With the kind of form the two of them were in, it seemed like a score in excess of 400 was well and truly on the cards, and a double hundred was on offer for Morgan. Two bad shot selections later, England were back in a spot of bother, with 5 wickets down and two new batsmen at the crease.

About an over later, 5 turned into 6; Curtis Campher, the player of the series so far for Ireland, after having taken a severe beating early on, found the leading edge off Moeen Ali’s bat, and the ball lobbed to the hands of Paul Stirling at cover.

 

Even though Billings started off with a few attractive boundaries, he, too, had to depart soon afterwards, after failing to get to the pitch of the ball and presenting Mark Adair at mid-on with a low catch off Craig Young.

With 3 wickets remaining, Ireland sniffed an excellent opportunity to bundle England out for under 250. David Willey, who has been outstanding with the ball and bat so far in the series, having taken 8 wickets in the two games and guided his side home with the bat in the previous game with an unbeaten 47, had other plans.

Partnered with Tom Curran, the duo seemed to look like they were trying to bat out the 50 overs with the thought of going hammer and tongs at the end. But then we saw the 40th over from Mark Adair go for 13.

 

The following over from McBrine went for 10. Two overs later, Willey was raising his bat after completing 50 individual runs, with a mighty slog sweep for six off McBrine, Willey’s third of the innings.

Campher, in his final over, came to Ireland’s rescue yet again, removing Willey with an off-cutter that was skied and taken at long-on. With two runs away from England’s 300, Adil Rashid was caught yards short by ‘keeper Tucker’s direct hit.

 

A 30-run partnership between last pair tom Curran and Saqib Mahmood, which contained a lot of scampered singles and doubles, saw England set a mammoth target of 329 for their British rivals, after Mahmood was caught behind in the penultimate delivery of the innings.

 

ALSO READ: Curtis Campher: From Johannesburg to Dublin, an Ireland star in the making

 

Even though Sky Sports displayed the match summary of Bengaluru 2011 shortly before the innings break, not many people would have counted upon a misfiring Ireland batting line-up to chase an identical score this time around. Paul Stirling, who has been said to be due for a big knock this series, did not think so, much to the delight of the Irish.

After a steady, cautious start to the innings from the 29-year-old Ireland vice-captain, with the bad balls being dispatched to the fence, he decided to free his arms in the 8th over, sending two back-of-a-length deliveries from Saqib Mahmood over the square leg and mid-wicket boundary.

The loss of Gareth Delany, bowled round the legs off David Willey, momentarily took the momentum out of the chase, but something really special was to follow.

Captain Andrew Balbirnie joined his deputy in the middle to do what has been expected from them throughout the series, and this time, they did not disappoint. A few relatively quiet overs followed with the occasional boundary in them. The 15th over from Moeen Ali saw Stirling reach his highest score against England; 49. Two balls later, he got to a well-deserved fifty.

And then he decided to go after the spinners, while his captain played a supporting role, keeping the scoreboard ticking and occasionally hitting the odd boundary.

Stirling was particularly severe on Adil Rashid, taking 19 runs off his first two overs, after which the leggie responded with a maiden third over. Balbirnie covered up for it with two streaky boundaries in the following over from James Vince.

In the absence of England’s regular skipper Eoin Morgan, who could not field due to a groin injury earlier today, England bowlers seemed to be under more pressure, leaking a boundary every single over at that stage. Balbirnie brought up his fifty in the 25th over, off 43 deliveries.

Stirling was given a lifeline in the next over by James Vince, who failed to cling on to a mistimed pull from him at deep mid-wicket, very similar to the Eoin Morgan’s dropped chance earlier in the day.

Unlike Morgan, Stirling took a little more advantage of that. He brought up his 9th ODI hundred with a clip towards mid-wicket off Curran in the following over, and then he cautiously proceeded with the chase.

That was until the 36th over from Willey, which saw him being carted for 12. A few more overs filled with strike rotation and scoreboard ticking later, the duo reached an astonishing 200 run partnership. James Vince failed to cling on to yet another skier from Stirling, and in the next delivery, his partner, Balbirnie brought up his hundred off a 100 balls.

It turned out that third time was the charm for England in dismissing Stirling. A mix-up between him and Balbirnie, and some level-headed fielding from Roy and then Tom Curran accounted for him. Two tight overs later, the wicket of Balbirnie, caught at long-off by Billings off Adil Rashid, brought England back in the game.

With Ireland needing 44 off 30 balls, it was time for the hero of Bengaluru 2011 to step up. A massive six from him off a David Willey no-ball next over swung the game evenly for both teams.

But it was young Harry Tector who seemed to take the pressure off his senior partner with some excellent running between the wickets and the odd boundary whenever he got an opportunity.

The equation started to tilt in Ireland’s favour, with 7 runs coming off the 47th and 48th over and 9 from the penultimate, which included a magnificently placed four from Tector through point.

With 8 runs required for Ireland in the last over, ones and twos would have done it for them quite easily, and that is exactly what they did.

A no-ball from Mahmood helped their cause as well, as Kevin O’Brien sealed Ireland’s second victory over England with a single to square leg in the penultimate delivery of the match. This was the highest successful run chase by any team against England in England in ODI Cricket.

Brief scores:

England 328 all out (49.5 Overs)

Morgan 106, Banton 58, Willey 51, Young 3/53

Ireland 329/3 (49.5 Overs)

Paul Stirling 142, Andrew Balbirnie 113, Harry Tector 29, Adil Rashid 1/61

Ireland won by 7 wickets

Player of The Match: Paul Stirling

Player of The Series: David Willey