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England vs Ireland: Blow by blow account of how Ireland won a dream upset win over England


The ‘descendant of Jesus’ plays a dreamy lap shot. When Ireland’s Lorcan Tucker made his debut in U-19 world cup against India, a curious thing occurred. The TV commentator would read out from the vandalised wikipedia page that Tucker is a “direct descendant of Jesus Christ”.

Luckily, for us, our former colleague Daksh Panwar was at the ground in Dhaka and spotted Tucker’s family.

Here is their explanation on the whole Jesus affair.

In the here and now, on a rainy day at MCG, Tucker would unfurl a dreamy lap shot off Chris Woakes. A pretty decent delivery, full and just about seaming away from the off-stump line, but Tucker was ready, shuffling across nimbly, crouching, and he would lap it up and over short fine for an one-bounce four. Ever since that U-19 world cup, Tucker has shown a penchant for such shots and an ambition to play the 360 degree game.

The Irish cricket apathy seems to starts at home

Just hours before the start of Ireland’s game against England, Andrew Balbirnie’s wife Kate, who also plays cricket for Ireland, tweeted, “Ireland v England … and not a mention of it anywhere on @RTEsport”. The Irish cricket apathy seems to starts at home.

Don’t worry Kate, as Balbirnie has truly ensured there will be sports coverage on him with an enterprising knock against England.

When Ireland lost their previous game, Andrew Balbirnie had one request to the press: I don’t want sticky wicket as the headline. No excuses.

Today, he walked the confident talk, even honking 18 runs in the 10th over, bowled by Chris Woakes. There were couple of fours but the six over fine-leg would probably linger for a while in the mind. It was the last ball and Woakes had dug it in at the rib-cage, but Balbirnie swivelled neatly to help it up and over fine-leg boundary. On air, Nasser Hussain began to scream his raves. Why not?

The only thing perhaps he would rue so far was his indirect involvement in the run out of Lorcan Tucker. Balbirnie drove a ball back down the pitch and the bowler Adil Rashid unwittingly got a hand on it during his lunge, and it crashed into the non-striker’s stumps with Tucker backing out too far.

What happens when you wallop the pacy Mark Wood for a first-ball four?

Ireland’s Curtis Campher found out. Yup, a pacy snorter of a bouncer, allright. Campher was late on the attempted pull and the 148 kmph brute smashed into his helmet grill. Did he flinch, though? He was trying to dash out for a single. Wood looked far more concerned. The physio would come out, do his bit, and Campher was ready, slashing the next ball powerfully down to the third man fielder.

Campher was born in South Africa and had even played a few U-19 games when the former Ireland cricketer Niall O’Brien came calling. Niall had discovered Campher’s Irish roots and coaxed the allrounder to come to Ireland.

“He (Niall O’Brien) was involved in the beginning but that wasn’t the main reason. The main reason was seeking opportunities to play for Ireland. He was looking to get me over for some club cricket and that was my main focus,” Campher once told cricket.com “I wasn’t really set on playing for the Irish straightaway. Plan was to come over, experience the culture and play some club cricket. Fortunately, it went my way and I got a debut.” And what a debut too: An unbeaten fifty and a wicket against England.

May Day May Day! We have a man down in the stands!

When Andrew Balbirnie smashed a short ball from Sam Curran over square-leg boundary in the 15th over, he stood and watched the ball sail. Pride and satisfaction would be accompanied with some comic relief too. As a fan desperate to get to the ball would collapse from the seats and tumble over. All around him laughed. So did he, once he was helped up by his friend, still holding his iPhone aloft in his left hand. Something says he would have loved the ball more than the phone in his palms.

‘Aussie flies are more annoying than this rain’: Irish fan brings Douglas Jardine and legendary Yabba to mind

The Irish fan clad in a green costume stood up in agony. The head bowed, face invisible, sadness pouring out. Their captain Andrew Balbirnie, who had played a wonderfully belligerent hand with a 47-ball 62 with 2 sixes and five fours had just got out in the 16th over He had swept Liam Livingstone right into the palms of deep square-leg and the fan hung his head in disappointment.

On the costume, a text ran: ‘Aussie flies are more annoying than this rain’. It had been a rainy day that had delayed the start and interrupted the game but Balbirnie had shone brightly to lit up the faces of the Irish fans.

The crack about flies brings to the mind another cricketer and the Aussie flies. England’s pugnacious captain Douglas Jardine, of the Bodyline fame. Once, during that tour when he deployed his pacers Harold Harwood and co. to bounce at Don Bradman and the rest with many fielders behind the popping crease on the leg side – these days only 2 are allowed, he would shoo away a fly.

Out boomed a voice from the Sydney hill from the legendary Aussie cricket fan Yabba: “Leave those flies alone, they are your only friends here”. 

Yabba was a legendary character, associated with several noticeable witticisms. Once in 1932 when the Nawab of Pataudi batted for half an hour without scoring, Yabba advised the umpire, a gas-meter inspector, to “put a penny in him George, he’s stopped registering”.
Once, when a defensive batsman was anaesthetising the crowd Yabba shouted out in his stentorian voice, “Call nurse Mitchell [a noted abortionist in those times] to get the bastard out!” Another time, when a batsman was struggling to put bat to ball, he bleated out, “Bowl the bastard a grand piano and see if he can play that instead!” A

But his barbs not only reeked of harmless sarcasm but also were humane. Once, in 1934, when the rest of the mob in The Hill were patronising women cricketers Yabba refused to join in.

When the orchestrated cry of “Shake it up with your powder puff in there, girls!” went around, Yabba, when asked to join, sniggered, “Why should I? The ladies are playing all right for me. This is cricket. Leave the girls alone.”

Ireland show England attack can be collared

Though they ended up with 157, Ireland have showed the way to the rest of the world how England can be beaten. Or at least pushed. At the 15th over mark, they were sailing along at 127 for 3, and looking at 180 possibly. But they would lose two wickets in the 16th, including the red-hot captain Andrew Balbirnie. A collapse ensued. But until then, Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker, in a 82-run stand that disappointingly ended via a run-out with Tucker backing out too far and the bowler Adil Rashid getting a lucky hand to the straight hit, had shown that this England attack could be collared. Barring Mark Wood, nearly everyone leaked runs.

Dawid Malan offers a nod of respect to Mark Adair

It was an absolute peach of a delivery from Mark Adair, the right-arm swinger. Helped by the backspin, the ball rushed on with its proud seam that would have made Mohammad Shami perk up in excitement. It would land on a length around the off-stump line and Malan went for the big on-the-up swing over the bowler’s head. But he didn’t account for the late movement and even as the ball curved in, he let a gasp as he he knew he was done in. On air Michael Atherton would say, “Malan would have expected to hear a death rattle” of the stumps. But luckily for him, and unluckily for Adair, the ball would just about bob up and fly over the bails. Almost a kiss of death. Malan would then look across and nod his head up and down in utter respect at Adair.

What do you do on your first ball in the world cup? Knock down the stumps of Ben Stokes, of course

Fionn Hand already has a record to his name. In August, on his T20I debut against Afghanistan, Hand smashed a 18-ball 36 batting at No. 9, the highest score recorded by a debutant batting at that position.

He would do one better on his world cup debut on Wednesday, producing a perfect nip-backing curler to leave Ben Stokes wincing and muttering. It landed on a length around off and tilted in and Stokes, stuck to the crease, just about waved a forward defensive prod more in hope than any conviction. The ball sneaked through the bat-and-pad alley to peg back the stumps.

Hand lost his head, heading into a celebratory run as his dreamy year continues.

“If I look back, in the past six months I was working two jobs, in college and playing for Munster, and then all of a sudden I have two caps under my belt and a contract. It happened so fast, but you can never give up really,” he had told Dublin’s newspaper The Independent. “I’m just trying now to take it all in and reflect on what has happened.”

What has happenned Hand is that you are rocking.

England or Ireland? Which bowling attack has been better so far?

Ireland have been absolutely stunning. The seamers Joshua Little, Mark Adair, Fionna Hand, and even the leggy Gareth Daley have been spot on with line, length, and movement. Joshua had the pace and smartness to bang in a couple of surprise short ones to pick two wickets while Adair and Hand, especially Adair, have been moving the ball beautifully.

At end of 9 overs, England were 53 for 3 with asking rate climbing over 9 per over. In slightly overcast conditions, England bowlers couldn’t produce much, perhaps the ball was slippery or the run-up area wet as Mark Wood seemed to indicate at the end of the knock. But Ireland have stepped up to great effect.

Oh no, did Delaney and Adair drop the game?

Two dropped catches off successive balls have let off England. With England on 63 for 3 in 10 overs, chasing 158, George Dockerell began his left-arm spin. First ball, Harry Brook swiped to long-on where Mark Adair overruns the ball and palms it over his head. Next ball, Dawid Malan slaps to extra cover where Gereth Delaney clanged it.

But luckily, for Ireland, Brook would offer another catch off the fifth ball and Delaney would pouch it at deep midwicket to bring back Irish smiles. England need 90 from 54 balls.

CSK net bowler Joshua Little stuns England

Congrats to Josh Little who is heading off on a development opportunity with the Chennai Super Kings in the early stages of the upcoming IPL.

“The experience as a net bowler for CSK should be fantastic. #GoWellJosh ☘️🏏”

That was a tweet this March by Cricket Ireland. Joshua Little has indeed gone well since then.

At 17, In 2017, he was selected to play in a series in India but Little chose to skip it to focus on academics at school. “I got picked to play against Afghanistan in Greater Noida, Delhi. [But] it was an important time for school, and I had to give the cricket a miss and try to do well in my exams. That was my decision. I got a lot of stick for it on social media and stuff,” he had told ICC website then. In September 2016, he had already became the second-youngest player to feature in a T20.

At the world cup stage, against England, he has produced a stunner. The left-arm seamer who reckons his wrist-snap at release confuses the batsmen as it can come out at a slightly more pace then they expect. He is right. Jos Buttler flashed but edged behind. Alex Hales couldn’t control a pull to a ball angled across him and was snapped up at square-leg.





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