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Pop-quiz time. Who has made the second-fastest World Cup century? Not Tendulkar. Not Lara. Not Richards, Ponting, Jayasuriya, Gilchrist, Afridi or Pietersen. Here's a clue: he had pink hair, batted with an injured knee, razed 13 fours and six sixes in Bangalore - and no, it's not Gayle either - and pulled off a robbery Robin Hood would have been jealous of. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Kevin O'Brien.
England had coasted to 327 and crippled Ireland at 111 for 5 halfway through the chase. Then came the batting Powerplay, in which 62 runs were knocked off the target and the game turned completely topsy-turvy.
All courtesy a man who had grown up playing in the backyard where hitting out of the garden was out, and keeping such feats secret from his friends at school because cricket was thought to be elitist, unlike rugby, the sport of the masses. After helping beat England in cricket for the first time in Ireland's history and resetting the record for the highest World Cup chase, he might have been a little keener to milk his bragging rights.
Geoffrey Boycott called England "chumps", Graeme Swann was "shell-shocked". O'Brien hogged the front page of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent and Ger, Kevin's brother, was left ruing his caution: "Some bookmakers had Ireland at 400-1 at one stage. I wish I'd not kept my money in pocket."
This article was first published in 2014