This day that year: England’s greatest humiliation featuring Kevin O’ Brien special

March 2, 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the day when Ireland stunned England at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore in the 2011 ICC World Cup. Kevin O’ Brien, the star of the evening, etched his name in the history books as he conjured one of cricket’s most memorable upsets with a match-winning knock of 113 off just 64 balls.  

Not only that, but O’Brien on that particular evening also went on to set a new record of hitting the quickest century in the history of the tournament, a landmark that remains unshakable with two World Cups already being played since then.  

From the man himself 

Today when the Irish cricketer looks back at the historic feat, Brien believes it was this moment Ireland ‘reached for the stars’, which eventually paved the gateway for them to fulfil their ultimate dream of Test status.  

“It probably opened Cricket Ireland’s eyes and soon they were thinking ‘why don’t we try and strive for something more?’. 

“The feeling was that we should be looking to achieve more than just qualifying for a tournament every few years and being happy with our lot. A few people thought ‘why don’t we reach for the stars?’ 

“Playing Test cricket for Ireland, as a full member nation, started as a pipe dream. It was a long shot, but we did it,” Brien shared his thoughts in an interaction with PA news agency.   

Bangalore turns green  

A solid display by Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, and Ian Bell helped England post an imposing 327/8 in their 50 overs, a challenging score even by the standards after a decade since the clash. Pietersen fetched 59 from 50 balls, while Trott and Bell were almost close to their respective tons before falling short by slender margins. However, their effort did provide England with a cushion, especially considering the opposition in hand.  

In addition, Ireland losing their skipper William Porterfield on the first ball of the innings may have added some extra comfort, a moment that should have ideally set the tone for the contest. At one point it did feel like Ireland were blown away from the contest as they were reeling at 111/5 midway during their chase.   

Kevin O’ Brien was still just two overs old at the crease, but it didn’t take long for then 26-year-old to spread his gusto around the Chinnaswamy stadium.  

The turning point of the contest came in the 30th over when Ireland required 162 more to win and the Irish pair of Brien and Alex Cusack decided to take the Batting Powerplay.  

The destruction started as the pair gathered 62 runs in five overs, which turned the daunting task look feasible. Cusack also played a pivotal role in Ireland’s famous win, as he dug deep giving O’Brien the much-needed company as the latter continued his rampage from one end.  

The pair added 162 for the sixth wicket, before Cusack gave away his wicket trying to save Brien from getting run-out. Cusack fell shy of three runs from completing his half-century and the job was still not yet done. John Mooney then joined O’Brien in the middle with 55 still to get from 51 deliveries. 

The new pair kept the scoreboard ticking without losing sight of the required run-rate almost making it look like some classic examples of the luck of the Irish situation.  

However, a late drama still awaited in the contest as O’Brien was dismissed run-out trying to steal a double in the penultimate over. But Mooney hanged out in the middle making sure he takes Ireland beyond the finishing line as they wrapped the proceedings with five balls to spare. 

England Playing XI: Andrew Strauss (capt), Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wk), Michael Yardy, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson 

Ireland Playing XI: William Porterfield (capt), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien (wk), Alex Cusack, Kevin O’Brien, Gary Wilson, John Mooney, Trent Johnston, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin 

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