ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

England v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

'Watch out India, you're next'

Abhishek Purohit in Bangalore

March 2, 2011

Comments: 124 | Text size: A | A

John Mooney flings his bat in the air after securing a dream result with a boundary, England v Ireland, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
john Mooney flings his bat in the air after scoring the winning runs against England © Getty Images
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Strangers embraced; total strangers, Indian and Irish, without inhibition at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. It was almost as though they'd been waiting to exhale for the longest time - for 20-odd overs, when the unthinkable first appeared within reach once Kevin O'Brien began his battering. As John Mooney finally despatched Jimmy Anderson to the recesses beyond the midwicket boundary, the hundreds gathered at the ground let go all at once.

As the Ireland team celebrated mid-pitch in a raw burst of emotions, so did their fans, who had not given up when Ireland were 111 for 5. They had dared to dream along with O'Brien, they had willed Mooney on, and finally, they had believed in Trent Johnston. Their reward was what one delirious fan called "the biggest sporting achievement in the history of Ireland." How special was it? "Come on, this one's against the English!"

In the crazed moments after the historic win, standard reporting practice went out of the window. There was no point in asking for names or back stories; the fans, fuelled by whatever was available inside the ground, were in seventh heaven, unable to comprehend the manner and magnitude of the achievement.

"It doesn't matter if we get beaten by everyone else in this World Cup. What matters is that we have beaten the English," one fan said.

Wednesday's win came in the backdrop of the ICC reaffirming its decision to cut the next World Cup down to ten teams and, though it's been a sore point with Ireland and other Associate nations, it didn't seem to matter a jot today. "We don't want to play Tests. We don't want to do anything. The World Cup is over for us. This is it," shouted a tall, Boyd Rankin lookalike.

Some supporters had almost given up after seeing Ireland stutter early in their mammoth chase but they decided to wait as long as Kevin O'Brien was batting. "We had decided that we'd leave if Kevin O'Brien got out. But he didn't. Oh, he just didn't get out. He just kept going on and on. It's a massive innings. It's just fantastic," said Rankin-lookalike's companion.

Keeping them company was a smattering of locals, who were cheering for the underdog and were soon turned into believers. Suddenly, what was a leisurely outing with the family turned into fierce rooting for the Irish. Singles were loudly cheered, boundaries drowned in the cacophony - as much as a few thousand could muster - usually reserved for Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. When a close second run was attempted, there were frantic cries of "beda, beda" ("don't" in Kannada). Alex Cusack's run-out drew groans, the eerie silence that accompanied O'Brien's was deafening.

The pre-match prediction was that it would all end in tears. It did - but tears of joy when the winning boundary was hit and more of them when an emotional O'Brien accepted his Man-of-the-Match award. Soon they dispersed into the night, and as they made their way out of Chinnaswamy Stadium and into the depths of Cubbon Park, they thanked the Indians among the crowd for their support.

But they did so with one caveat. An elderly Irishman, his eyes glistening with pride, said it all. "The Indian fans are good and friendly. But after today, watch out India. You are next." The Green Army marches on.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 124 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 5, 2011, 17:48 GMT)

common india!!!!!! its ur wrld cup nd in ur backyard!!!!!!! go nd have aconvincing win over ireland!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 5, 2011, 7:06 GMT)

wow people are reading too far into it. yes india have legends like tendulkar and sehwag, but that is irrelevant if you don't deliver on the day. this irish team is reminding me of the sri lankans to some extent since 1: they both don't have a solid domestic competition 2: like the sri lankans from 70s up to the 90s were seen as underdogs like ireland but still cause major upsets 3: they both while not playing test cricket manage to beat superpowers of international cricket. way to go ireland!!!!

Posted by Abeera on (March 4, 2011, 16:10 GMT)

l0ving Irish!!! i wish they'll succeed against india to0o0.. nothing is impossible u know.. =D=D

Posted by swaroop on (March 4, 2011, 14:02 GMT)

@ klobania:dont know how u can compare lie that.match was draw bcoz of strauss innings.didn't england beat any other team except India.moreover eng lost mainly due to their complacence...if eng plays against ireland 100 times 99 times eng tend to win...

Posted by Raghunadha Sarma on (March 4, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

India are not going to lose the match against Ireland. Ireland will be crushed. India will win with a big margin. But India wont stand a chance against SA in league or against AUS or SL in quarters. India will win against Ireland but will lose in quarters or Semis.

Posted by Raghunadha Sarma on (March 4, 2011, 12:49 GMT)

India are not going to lose the match against Ireland. Ireland will be crushed. India will win with a big margin. But India wont stand a chance against SA in league or against AUS or SL in quarters. India will win against Ireland but will lose in quarters or Semis.

Posted by khurram on (March 4, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

i cant stop laughing not because english players are thrashed by irish but thinking that india failed to defend over 330 runs against that english team i.e. too without their most consistent bowler broad. lets start celebrations as we all sincerely hoping that irish batsmen gonna thrash indian mediocre bowling attack out of the park. cheeeeers

Posted by Pratyush on (March 4, 2011, 4:24 GMT)

Go Ireland ! You just have to support the Irish , the underdog, even against our own team, India. Its the brand of cricket they play, fearless.. Come, do it one more time !

Posted by mm on (March 3, 2011, 23:27 GMT)

First I wanted to congratulate Ireland for their brave chase. For India, you must get ready or the Irish will chase you down. India better put your BEST TEAM on the ground. Not Dhoni's favorite team, not Sreekanth's favorite team but the best all around TEAM. You need wicket taking bowlers not the spinners to kill the overs. This isn't 20/20 Dhoni.This is a 50 over match, you need impact bowlers.Can you believe a country like Bangladesh and Srilanka has better bowlers than India? They are as big as some of the states in India. India BETTER play Sreesanth! He is the only bowler will make any kind of scare on the opposition. He had a bad game or more like a bad over and gave out over 20 runs. Most of them were legbye's and extras. But Dhoni was looking for a reason to kick him out. India will not win the world cup with Munaf and Zaheer. You need to use Sreesanth and Ashvin. Chawla had one good game and now you can't kick him out? Kick yuvi and chawla out and put raina, sree and Ashvin

Posted by Subash on (March 3, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

India cannot get complacent. Given that the match will be played in Bengaluru again, it will be another high scoring one, especially with the fact that our bowling lineup is not good enough to take 10 wickets. If India bats first they better score close to 400. Eng vs. SA should be another great game to watch. ENG has to win and SA are looking very good. Two good games on one day. Go India

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