ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
England v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore
Partying supporters send message to ICC
March 2, 2011
A beaming Cricket Ireland president, Basil McNamee, was among the dozens of delighted Irish fans awaiting their heroes at the team hotel in Bangalore on Wednesday night, savouring "the best victory in Ireland's cricket history". The stunning upset of England, their fiercest sporting rival, not only threw Group B wide open and injected excitement into a long-drawn league phase that was expected to be boringly predictable, but also brought into focus the ICC's decision to shut out Associate nations from the 2015 World Cup.
"This win is just a dream come true," McNamee told ESPNcricinfo. "It also sends out a message that Associates can't be taken for granted by everybody, that we can surprise." Ireland's back-from-the-dead victory gives them a real chance of making it to the quarter-finals, with two wins from their remaining four matches likely to ensure their qualification.
Ireland's position was bleak after defeat in the opening game to Bangladesh, and sliding to 111 for 5 against England. The resilience they showed in constructing the largest ever World Cup chase particularly pleased McNamee. "We were used to being defeated. So when victory comes, a victory against England, it's absolutely wonderful," he said. "Not only that, our boys played so well. It looked several times that we were going to be second-best again but our boys dug in."
The travelling Ireland supporters had plenty of anxious moments in the tense chase, relief and joy finally taking over when John Mooney clipped a boundary to midwicket off the first ball of the final over. It was nearly two hours later that the Ireland team arrived at the hotel to a rousing reception from the already partying fans.
William Porterfield and the rest of the side soaked in the applause and cheers from the fans who turned the lobby into a sea of green and white. "It was great to see so many of our supporters out here," a composed Porterfield told ESPNcricinfo. "It was even better to give them something to cheer about."
Ireland broke a slew of records and charted new ground in their win - fastest World Cup century for Kevin O'Brien, biggest World Cup chase, and their first victory over England being the prominent ones - and Porterfield said the team hadn't yet realised the enormity of the achievement. "We got to let this sink in still," he said. "We've all grown up dreaming of moments like this in a World Cup, and we're going to enjoy this time with our family and friends and have a couple of drinks."
It was the end of a day that he said "definitely eclipsed any Irish cricket has had" but even then he was not distracted from the task ahead for Ireland. "We've got another four games left in the group, and hopefully we can give our fans something more to cheer about," he said. "We've got to back this up in our next few performances and hopefully qualify for the next stage."
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