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BANGALORE – Kevin O’Brien smashed the fastest ever World Cup century to propel Ireland to a stunning three-wicket win over England in a Group B match yesterday.
An astonishing knock by O’Brien, who clobbered 13 fours and six sixes to reach three figures in only 50 balls, helped the Irish to live up to their reputation as giant-killers as they overhauled England’s total of 327-8 with five balls to spare.
It was the highest successful run chase in the tournament.
Four years after beating Pakistan in the group stage in the Caribbean, the Irish repeated the feat to dent England’s hopes of progressing into the knockout stages of the 2011 tournament.
“When you are 111-5 I just said to myself, we could just potter around and get 220 off 50 overs for eight or nine and the game would have been pretty boring to watch and it wouldn’t have been anything to watch on TV,” a grinning O’Brien said clutching his Man Of The Match trophy.
“I just chanced my arm and said I’m going to be as positive as I can and I got a few away and didn’t look back really.”
The 26-year-old O’Brien dismantled the English bowling to score 113 runs in 63 balls and his knock helped produce the first upset in this year’s showpiece.
He was run out – apparently the only way he could fall – with 11 runs still required off as many balls.
However, John Mooney (33 off 30 balls) kept his head and with three required to win off the last over, smashed a boundary to spark off the Irish celebrations.
Ireland’s victory also throws Group B, which includes India, West Indies and South Africa, wide open.
O’Brien came to the crease with almost half his side back in the pavilion with Ireland struggling on 106-4 in the 23rd over. He then turned on a breath-taking show of power hitting while the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium roared him on. (Reuters)