Fantasy Cricket is a game beyond emotions, love, skill, knowledge and exceptional gut instincts. Coincidences in cricket have always had a special place in history and a similar unusual & epic game happened last night in the England v/s Ireland encounter at Southampton. England might have won the series 2-1 but Ireland have won a million hearts after their victory in the 3rd and final ODI against World Champions England.
While England’s 1st-grade test team is all set to counter the young Pak brigade, the ODI English team had secured their ODI series 2-0 before they met their Irish counterparts for one last time last night:
Early Hiccups hamper England’s Start
Bairstow & Roy have been in exceptional touch but Jason’s inability to convert good starts into big totals continued as he lost his wicket way too early this time. Last game’s hero Jonny Bairstow too couldn’t survive for long and lost his stumps flying at an inswinging Adair delivery. James Vince played some handsome strokes but he too got dismissed by Craig Young who made him his second victim after Roy
Unstoppable Morgan & Banton’s Maiden 50
Eoin Morgan came and did what he does best. Hammering the short deliveries over the mid-wicket region for 4 huge sixes. The Captain of the England Cricket team stepped up to the occasion and played his natural game with 15 boundaries and made yet another century before he got dismissed at 106. Tom Banton gave his skipper much-needed support as he too put up 58 off 51 before he got plumbed in front of the spinner Delany.
Willey-Curran’s Finishing Touches
After providing momentum to the innings, Morgan & Banton went to the pavilion and the English hopes relied on the lower order to get the score to 300+. Billings, who has been in great form didn’t make an impact this time and lost his wicket for only 19. It was Willey (51) & Tom Curran(38) that took on the Irish bowlers and accelerated the run rate providing a good finish to the innings before they were bowled out for 328 with a ball to spare.
Ireland’s Steady Start & Stirling’s Class
Ireland came on to bat with Stirling & Delany looking in solid touch. Both of them looked like they had put a price on their wicket this time, which was a missing factor in the 1st two ODIs. The target was 329, a target that Ireland had chased 9 years ago against the same opponent during their World Cup 2011 league game. Stirling and Delany put on 50 runs for the 1st wicket before Delany got cleaned up by David Willey.
Stirling-Balbirinie hit centuries before Kevin & Tector Close the Game
Paul Stirling made a career-best score 142 off just 128 deliveries as he played owing to his reputation with 6 huge sixes and 9 boundaries. His Captain Andrew Balbirnie gave him the best possible support as he kept on rotating the strike and himself scored a run-a-ball century hitting a dozen boundaries in the process. England got some hope after they picked these 2 vital wickets but what came was even worse! Harry Tector & Kevin O’ Brian (hero of the 2011 victory) came with a professional approach to chase down the target as they took things down to the wire and helped Ireland win with a ball to spare.
What a victory! What a game! History has repeated itself from Bangalore to Southampton the closing scores of Ireland read 329 as they defeated the World Champions England and proved that they’re just more than underdogs in the sport of cricket.
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