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Kevin O'Brien
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Cricket World Cup moments: Kevin O'Brien helps Ireland shock England

Ireland's sporting rivalry with England has traditionally been played out on the rugby field or the football pitch.

In March 2011, however, the teams produced a Cricket World Cup classic at Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy Stadium, where underdogs Ireland claimed a stunning three-wicket victory.

Big hitter Kevin O'Brien was the star of the show, smashing 113 off just 63 balls in a record-breaking run-chase against an England attack that included James Anderson, Stuart Broad and ace spinner Graeme Swann.

Ireland make immediate impact in 2007 World Cup debut

Ireland were making only their second appearance at a Cricket World Cup in 2011, having already showcased their giant-killing ability at their debut tournament in 2007.

They kicked off that campaign in the Caribbean with a dramatic tie against Zimbabwe before a three-wicket win over Pakistan, who were bowled out for 132 despite the presence of legends Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq in their middle-order.

Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien held Ireland's innings together, making 72 in a total of 133-7. O'Brien's younger brother Kevin was unbeaten on 16 at the end as captain Trent Johnston sealed a shock victory with a six.

Ireland went on to lose to England by 48 runs in the Super Eight stage – the Irish number three was Eoin Morgan, who would lead England to World Cup glory in 2019 – and a similar outcome was expected in the rematch four years later.

Ashes heroes power England to competitive total

Ireland had beaten Bangladesh by 74 runs at the 2007 World Cup but they lost to the Tigers in their opening Group B fixture of the 2011 tournament, going down by 27 runs to the co-hosts in Mirpur.

England chased down 293 to beat the Netherlands in Nagpur before a high-scoring tie with India in Bangalore, where opener Andrew Strauss's 158 helped them match the home side's total of 338.

Batters Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, along with wicketkeeper Matt Prior, were full of confidence after their parts in England's 2010/11 Ashes series victory in Australia.

And, after skipper Strauss elected to bat first, Ireland were swiftly on the back foot as opener Pietersen cracked 59 off 50 balls before top-edging a catch to the wicketkeeper off the bowling of Paul Stirling.

Stirling's fellow spinner George Dockrell had struck the first blow, bowling the in-form Strauss for 34, but Warwickshire pair Trott and Bell dominated the middle overs of the innings, laying a formidable foundation for England.

They took the score to 278-2 before Bell was brilliantly caught by Stirling off John Mooney for 81 with seven overs of the innings remaining.

A total of 350-plus was on the cards for England but Mooney bowled Trott for 92 in his next over, also dismissing Collingwood and Tim Bresnan to finish with 4-63, while Johnston took two wickets to restrict England to 327-8.

Explosive O'Brien century stuns England bowlers

Kevin O'Brien

Even after their late comeback with the ball, Ireland needed a record World Cup run-chase to beat England in Bangalore and they made the worst possible start.

The first ball of the innings was a wide delivery from Anderson which Irish captain William Porterfield dragged on to his stumps. Stirling (32) and Ed Joyce (32) put on 62 for the second wicket and Niall O'Brien, the hero of the 2007 win over Pakistan, also got a start.

However, spinner Swann dismissed Joyce, O'Brien (29) and Gary Wilson (three) in the space of four overs to leave Ireland's hopes in tatters at 111-5 almost halfway through their 50 overs.

Number six Kevin O'Brien had smashed 142 against Kenya in only his fifth ODI appearance in 2007 and had played some explosive innings against the likes of Scotland, Canada and Zimbabwe.

Coming in with more than 200 runs required against a top-class England attack, O'Brien had no choice but to go on the offensive, hitting Michael Yardy for two fours in the 26th over and depositing Swann for two sixes in the 27th.

With number seven Alex Cusack providing useful support, O'Brien kicked on, taking 16, nine, 13 and 17 runs off consecutive overs to leave Ireland requiring 106 from the final 15.

A 102-metre six off Anderson took O'Brien to 76 off just 38 balls and he moved into the 90s with another huge maximum off Bresnan. He had some good fortune when he was dropped at long-off by Strauss off Collingwood but a scampered two brought up his century off 50 balls – the fastest ton in World Cup history.

England finally broke the spectacular sixth-wicket partnership of 162 when Cusack was run out for 47. By then, though, the required run-rate was just seven per over and new batsman Mooney struck five crucial boundaries before O'Brien was run out in the penultimate over for 113 off 63 balls.

Just 11 runs were needed off the final 11 balls and the experienced Johnston eased Ireland's nerves with a cover drive for four off the first delivery he faced.

England bowler Anderson had just three runs to defend in the final over and Mooney clipped his first ball through midwicket for four, ensuring man of the match O'Brien's place in Cricket World Cup history and Irish sporting folklore.

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