Euro 2020 Special

Ireland the Giant Killers: England on the Wrong End of Another World Cup Upset

Ireland have enhanced their reputation as World Cup giant killers.

The team that had already eliminated the West Indies from the competition in the first group stage, beating them by 9 wickets in Hobart, claimed arguably a bigger scalp by beating England, one of the pre-tournament favourites in Melbourne.

The English might argue that, had not rain brought a premature end to the match then the result might have been different, but this would just be sour grapes. The truth is that the Irish were better with both bat and ball on the day.


Match recap

England won the toss at the MCG and decided to field first. However, having dismissed Paul Stirling for 14, they were put on the backfoot by the Irish captain Andrew Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker put on 82 for the second wicket.

It looked like the Irish were set to post a big total when the England bowlers wrested control of the match back by taking the last 9 wickets for 54 runs, and the final total of 157 should have been well within the grasp of the English batters.

But England displayed a surprisingly tentative approach to the task in hand, and slumped to 86/5 before Mooen Ali began to inject some much needed momentum.

However, when the rain started to fall at the end of the 15th over, England were five runs behind Ireland at the same stage of their innings and, under the rules of the competition, the Irish claimed the win.

The loss does not mean the end of England’s hopes, and the same rain that affected their match also forced the abandonment of the New Zealand Afghanistan match later in the day, helping to compress the table. But it does mean there is no room for any more slip ups in the competition.

This is by no means the first time the Irish have done this to the English.


2010 T20 World Cup

If England are looking for a good omen, they can look back to what happened to them at the 2010 World Cup which was staged in the West Indies.

Ireland won the toss in Providence and, after inviting England to bat first, kept them down to just 120/8 from their 20 overs.

In reply, Ireland were 4/1 when the rain fell, forcing the abandonment of the rest of the match. Both teams had to settle for a point apiece, and with only two teams from their group progressing through to the Super 8 stage of the competition, England edged out the Irish on Net Run rate.

England would go on to win the World Cup for the first and only time in their history, beating Australia in the final.


2011 World Cup

There was to be no reprieve for the English though the following year at the 50 over aside World Cup, which was played in India that year. Winning the toss in Bengaluru and batting first, England thought they had done enough by making 327/8 from their allotted overs.

At, with the Irish struggling at 11/5 in their reply, the result seemed a foregone conclusion. That though, was without taking into account the ability of Kevin O’ Brien to rise to the occasion.

He made 113 off 63 balls including 6 sixes and 13 fours, sharing a stand of 162 for the sixth wicket with Alex Cusack, and 44 for the seventh with John Mooney. By the time O’Brien was dismissed at the start of the 49th over, Ireland were within touching distance of victory, and Mooney and Trent Johnston carried them over the line.


Test Match 2019

The two countries have only played in one test previously, at Lord’s in 2019, and, for large parts of that match it seemed like another shock result might be on the cards.

England won the toss and chose to bat first, but were bowled out for just 85 in their first innings, with Tim Murtagh taking 5 -13.

Ireland responded by making 207, meaning that they had a 122 run ion first innings.

The home side batted better second time round -they could hardly do worse – and totalled 303, with nightwatchman Jack Leach top scoring with 92.

That meant Ireland needed 182 to win, but, in the end, the pressure and the English fast bowl pair of Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes proved too much for them and they were dismissed for 38 inside 16 overs.




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