Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Rest for the wicket as stunning O'Brien helps Ireland tame England

Ireland's Kevin O'Brien celebrates scoring his century during the ICC Cricket World Cup victory over England
Fans celebrate Ireland's victory over England in their ICC Cricket World Cup match, during a post match party at Krystal night Club, Dublin
Ireland's John Mooney celebrates scoring the winning runs during the ICC Cricket World Cup match at the at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India.

Ireland man of the match Kevin O’Brien was on a high after carving up the Engand attack in his record-breaking innings.

O’Brien hit the fastest century in World Cup history — from just 50 balls, it was also the sixth quickest in any one-day international — as Ireland chased down England’s 328 to win their only their third ever game at a World Cup.

“That's a long way the best innings I've played, even as kids when I was playing in the back garden with (brother) Niall,” he said.

“I think anyone is going to struggle to beat that. I'll say that all night, 100 off 50 balls in a World Cup in front of a billion people under lights against England, it doesn't get any better.”

O’Brien believed the impossible was possible about 12 overs out.

“Myself and Cusi (Alex Cusack) took the powerplay at 31 overs and it came off (they scored 62 in five overs) and that set us up,” he said.

“We needed 90 of 12 which is just over seven an over. The wicket out there was extremely flat and the ball was coming on to the bat nicely.

“It's also a pretty small ground with a quick outfield so if you pierced the ball through the infield it was either two or four. It helped that I was hitting the ball pretty cleanly as well.

“I just went out to try and be positive. As you might have seen on Friday I score pretty quickly and these last three games including the warm-up games I've just backed my own ability to go out there and just hit it as hard as I can.

“It was obviously a tricky situation and it didn't help losing the fifth wicket for 111. We had our backs we took a chance, myself and Cusi got the ball rolling and from there I don't think England had any answers to be honest.

“They didn't really know what they were up to with their bowling plans and we took advantage of that.”

When he was out for 113, having faced just 63 balls and hit 13 fours and six maximums, Ireland were still 11 runs short of their target but with 11 balls left O’Brien was confident in his team-mates.

“John (Mooney) was still there and he was hitting the ball very cleanly and then Trent (Johnston) came in and he's no tailender, he hits a big ball,” he added.

“He's a fantastic player coming in at number eight or nine for us. I just knew if we didn't panic, it was down to a run a ball. They were always giving us a four ball an over.

“We knew that we just sat on it and kept out the good balls and hit the bad ball for four we'd walk to victory.”

Watching from the stands as he played the innings of his life, were O’Brien’s parents, former Ireland captain Brendan, and Camilla.

“Obviously there was two proud people up there in the stands and there's probably four million proud people at home,” added O'Brien junior.

“It's a fantastic day for Irish cricket, Irish sport, be it rugby, football, whatever; any time Ireland beat England it's massive.”

Proud dad also spoke after the match. “It’s a hugely proud moment for me and I'm delighted for him,” said Brendan.

“He had a couple of ducks recently but it is a hard game and he has come back well.

“We knew the wicket was good the outfield very quick. Alex and Kevin were fantastic.”

--

Kevin O'Brien struck the fastest century in World Cup history yesterday, in Ireland's win at Bangalore. The Dubliner also placed sixth in the fastest ODI centuries to this day.

10 Fastest ODI centuries

102 (100 from 37) - S Afridi (v Sri Lanka, Nairobi) Oct '96

147 no (100 from 44) - M Boucher (v Zimbabwe, Potchefstroom) Sep '06

117 (100 from 45) - B Lara (v Bangladesh, Dhaka) Oct '99

102 (100 from 45) - S Afridi (v India, Kanpur) Apr '05

134 (100 from 48) - S Jayasuriya (v Pakistan, Singapore) Apr '96

113 (100 from 50) - K O'Brien (v England, Bangalore) Mar '11

124 (100 from 53) - S Afridi (v Bangladesh, Dambulla) Jun '10

130 (100 from 55) - S Jayasuriya (v Bangladesh, Karachi) Jun '08

102 (100 from 58) - AB de Villiers (v India, Ahmedabad) Feb '10

125 (100 from 60) - V Sehwag (v New Zealand, Hamilton) Mar '09

KEVIN O'BRIEN FACTFILE

1984: March 4, born Dublin.

2001: Joins Railway Union Cricket Club, Dublin.

2004: Represents Ireland in the Under-19s World Cup, scoring 241 runs.

2006: April 22 - Makes List A debut against United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, scoring three.

June 13 - Makes one-day international debut against England in Belfast. O'Brien takes the wicket of Andrew Strauss before scoring 35 as England win by 35 runs.

2007: February - Makes first-class debut in the ICC Intercontinental Cup against United Arab Emirates.

Second top scorer at the World Cricket League in Kenya with 263 runs and hit 142 off 125 deliveries against the hosts in just his fifth ODI.

Also makes his World Cup debut in West Indies as Ireland come second in Group D before finishing bottom of the Super 8 stage.

2008: August 2 - Makes Twenty20 debut against Scotland in Belfast.

2009: June - Plays in the World Twenty20 in England scoring 39 not out to guide Ireland to victory over Bangladesh.

Joins Nottinghamshire for their Twenty20 campaign.

2010: September - Scores 71 and 2no and takes four wickets as Ireland draw with Zimbabwe in Harare.

2011: March 2 - Hits the fastest World Cup century, smashing six sixes and 13 fours in a 50-ball hundred against England. Finishes with 113 off 63 deliveries as Ireland cause a huge shock beating Strauss' side by three wickets in Bangalore.

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