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'To Beat England At Any Sport Is Pretty Cool As An Irishman'

'To Beat England At Any Sport Is Pretty Cool As An Irishman'
By PJ Browne Updated
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Kevin O'Brien announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday morning. 11 years ago, he had his finest hour for Ireland when he scored the fastest century in World Cup history in a famous win over England. He spoke about that famous day last year.

Kevin O'Brien was watching on a TV in the dressing room by the time John Mooney hit the winning runs.

"I broke into crazy celebrations," says O'Brien.

He had every reason to do so. Ireland had just beaten England at a Cricket World Cup, coming back from a massive deficit, and O'Brien had been largely responsible for the resurrection.

During 2021's COVID-19 lockdown, on the 10-year anniversary of Ireland beating England in Bangalore, O'Brien held a live, and free, Q&A session to provide some lockdown relief for Irish cricket fans.

Kevin O'Brien on that famous 2011 night in Bangalore

England had hit 327, an imposing score for their innings, but it was Ireland's 106/4 on the board with 22 overs played by the time O'Brien stepped onto the oval which made the lead look unassailable.

"I remember saying to Cusey (Alex Cusack), 'I'd rather get bowled out for 150 here trying to win the game rather just patter around for two hours and lose respectably. Listen, lets just go out here and have a bit of fun. Try to hit a few into the stands, try to get a bit of momentum and take our chances'. That's what we did," O'Brien says.

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"Back then, there was a rule where the batting team could decide when they took the power play. That restricted the fielding team to only having three men outside the inner ring, which is 30 yards.

"The way cricket was played then was that teams took that power play closer to the end of the innings. I think we took it after 25 overs, which was unheard of at the time.

"Myself and Cusey scored something 72 runs in the next five overs. We went from 120/5 or so to almost 200/5. We only need 120-odd off the last 19 overs, something like that.

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"It was probably after that I had an idea we might go on and win. I was fairly sure that if myself and Cusey were there until the end of the innings, we'd be very close to winning the game, if not winning it."

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With his hair dyed pink for a Today FM 'Shave or Dye' charity fundraiser, Kevin O'Brien ended up scoring 113 - hitting the fastest ever century at a World Cup in the process - before he was run out. His time at bat featured 13 fours and six sixes.

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"To beat England at any sport, at any time of year, is pretty cool as an Irishman," he says.

"We obviously experienced it in August (2020), in England.

"The England team we beat in August was a much better side than the team we beat in Bangalore, in my opinion; they were World Cup champions, the one or two ranked team in the world.

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"The [2011] England game had a big knock-on effect for the sport in Ireland. It let Ireland achieve further off the field: Playing bigger games more often, pushing towards test status. It had a big bearing on and off the field for Cricket in Ireland.

"One of the things that Cricket Ireland wanted to achieve was getting test status. Ultimately, we got there three years ago."

Picture credit: Barry Chambers / Cricket Ireland / SPORTSFILE

SEE ALSO: Watch: Paul O'Donovan Sums Up Hilarious Tactics That Led To European Gold

 

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