31st over: Ireland 192-1 (Stirling 107, Balbirnie 67) Balbirnie chips Curran’s slower ball for four, and almost makes it consecutive boundaries with a fierce cut that is brilliantly fielded on the boundary by the sliding substitute Dawson. England really need a wicket. They’ve needed one for about two hours.
“You know what’s very, very nice about this partnership, this effort?” says Robert Wilson. “It doesn’t feel that surprising. As a boy, I had languid dreams of Irish Test status, and while I’m not claiming they’re early-days Sri Lanka, they’ve done more than alright. Particularly considering how many players they’ve lost to the opposition (I’ll include the tragically lost son of Erin, Martin McCague, just to butter your parsnips). Kinda nice that the reality has outmatched the pipe-dream – though with fewer triple-hundreds and fivefers from me.”
30th over: Ireland 185-1 (Stirling 107, Balbirnie 60) England have gone up a gear in the last 10 minutes. Stirling misses an attempted pull off Mahmood, coming perilously close to dragging the ball onto his stumps, and there are only three runs from the over.
29th over: Ireland 182-1 (Stirling 106, Balbirnie 58) This is a promising spell from Tom Curran, who is getting a bit of reverse (presumably) back into the right-handers. Just three runs from his fifth over. Ireland need 147 from 126 balls.
28th over: Ireland 179-1 (Stirling 105, Balbirnie 56) Stirling slaughters a cut for four off Mahmood. Both sides are now 10/11 to win the match, though it’s becoming increasingly hard to see how Ireland can lose from here. Rashid has five overs remaining; he’s England’s likeliest matchwinner.
27th over: Ireland 171-1 (Stirling 100, Balbirnie 53) It’s a double bowling change, with Tom Curran replacing James Vince. Stirling survives a big LBW appeal from a lovely inswinging yorker. Replays show he was hit plumb in front of middle stump; sadly for England, the only thing the ball made contact with was his bat.
Stirling works his next delivery to leg for a single to reach a fantastic hundred from 96 balls, his first against England. He’s given it some hammer, as he usually does, but has also played with a lot of intelligence.
26th over: Ireland 164-1 (Stirling 96, Balbirnie 51) Where’s Liam Plunkett when you need him? In his absence, and with England in urgent need of a wicket, Moeen Ali turns to Saqib Mahmood. The move almost works, but Stirling is dropped by Vince on 95. He nailed a pull stroke towards midwicket, where Vince put down a sharp two-handed catch to his right.
25th over: Ireland 160-1 (Stirling 93, Balbirnie 50) James Vince continues into his third over. It might be his last: Stirling mows him over mid-on to move into the nineties, and then Balbirnie threads a cover drive for two to reach a calm, classy half-century from only 43 balls. England may have looked a bit rudderless in the field, but these two have batted superbly. Ireland need 169 from 150 balls.
24th over: Ireland 152-1 (Stirling 88, Balbirnie 47) Balbirnie drives Rashid through extra cover for four, and then Stirling top-edges a sweep into the empty seats. That’s his fifth six. “Still need 180 here, fellas,” says Jonny Bairstow. But he knows that England are in all sorts. We’re approaching the stage where the only thing that can stop Ireland winning the match is excessive thought about the prospect of winning.
23rd over: Ireland 141-1 (Stirling 82, Balbirnie 42) Two Irishmen have made ODI centuries against England. Kevin O’Brien’s we know about; the other was by William Porterfield at Malahide in 2013, a match that Ireland would have won but for Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan.
22nd over: Ireland 137-1 (Stirling 80, Balbirnie 40) Rashid has accepted Stirling’s challenge and is now starting to toy with him. Stirling drives not far short of mid-off and then inside edges a wrongun past leg stump. Three from the over.
21st over: Ireland 134-1 (Stirling 78, Balbirnie 39) Moeen Ali replaces himself with James Vince. English cricket’s newest golden arm almost strikes again when Balbirnie, aiming to leg, top-edges over Bairstow’s head for four. An otherwise excellent over is tarnished by an errant last delivery that Balbirnie tickes for four more. Ireland aren’t just on top at the moment – they’re cruising.
“Hi again Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “It’s a pity England can’t bring on Andre the Giant for a few overs of left-arm spin. My uncle, Vince McMahon Jr., once told me that he wasn’t a bad cricketer. Vince himself was a useful all-rounder. His ‘power walk’ to the middle was often enough to strike fear into opposition bowlers…”
On the subject of walking to the middle, Sky’s documentary on England’s 1989-90 tour of the Caribbean, Pictures from Paradise, is brilliant. There’s a particularly stirring bit of Viv Richards’ duel with Devon Malcolm in the fourth Test in Barbados. Malcolm dismissed Richards twice in the first Test, and was lured by the press into saying he had the formula to dismiss Viv. After hooking Malcolm’s first ball for six, Viv walked up the wicket to him and said, “Showtime”.
20th over: Ireland 126-1 (Stirling 78, Balbirnie 31) Rashid’s contest with Stirling is developing nicely. After being hit for six in each of his first two overs, Rashid responds with an excellent maiden.
19th over: Ireland 126-1 (Stirling 78, Balbirnie 31) Stirling premeditates a lap for four off Moeen, who is having a tricky time both as bowler and captain. He picks up a pair of twos and then lashes a cut stroke for four more. He has 78 from 66 balls and has played quite brilliantly. Ireland need 203 from 31 overs. It is emphatically on.
18th over: Ireland 113-1 (Stirling 65, Balbirnie 31) Hello! Stirling smears Rashid over midwicket for another big six, his fourth of the innings. This is a terrific, courageous assault on England’s most dangerous bowler. If Ireland deal with Rashid, they should win the match.
Drinks break entertainment (sic)
“Rob,” says Mac Millings. “I have been ‘inspired’ by that perfect couple, Curtis Campher and Phil Sawyer, to come up with a Scents and Smells XI. I nicked a couple off Sawyer’s effort below the line at the County Cricket live blog yesterday. I have no regrets about the theft. He knows what he did.
- Lou Vinscent
- Graham Gucci
- Aromavinda de Silva
- Rahul Dravidoff (c)
- Curtis Camphor
- Bruce Stench †
- Chris Old Spice
- Brut Reid
- Andre Chanel
- Curtly Ambrosia
- Alan Smellally
17th over: Ireland 104-1 (Stirling 57, Balbirnie 30) The required rate is still below 7, so Ireland will feel they have this chase under control. They are batting beautifully at the moment, and Balbirnie skids back in his crease to guide Moeen through backward point for four more. That’s drinks.
16th over: Ireland 98-1 (Stirling 56, Balbirnie 25) Adil Rashid replaces Tom Curran, and immediately the pulse of the match increases. Stirling survives a big LBW appeal second ball after missing a premeditated sweep; he was outside the line. He misses another big sweep off Rashid’s fifth delivery – but he nails it next ball, clouting Rashid over midwicket for his third six.
15th over: Ireland 88-1 (Stirling 50, Balbirnie 23) Stirling has settled into a pattern of accumulation against Moeen, having first looked like he wanted to belt him into downtown Southampton. A work to leg for a single takes him to a fine 52-ball fifty, just what Dr Runchase ordered.
Balbirnie then sweeps flat and hard for four. Moeen looks low on confidence, which I suppose is no surprise: since the start of 2019 he has an ODI bowling average of 101.
14th over: Ireland 80-1 (Stirling 48, Balbirnie 17) Balbirnie drives Curran beautifully through extra cover for four, a really high-class stroke. This is a good opportunity for Curran to show he can take wickets in the middle overs when England need them, because they sure as flip need one here.
13th over: Ireland 72-1 (Stirling 46, Balbirnie 11) Ireland are right in this contest, and it’s starting to look like Adil Rashid’s spell might decide the match. There isn’t that much for Ireland to worry about with the rest of the England attack.
12th over: Ireland 68-1 (Stirling 44, Balbirnie 9) England do have one vacancy in their best ODI XI – the Plunkett role. Tom Curran’s variety, imagination and temperament make him the leading contender at this stage, and he’s an expert at the death as well. His second over is another quiet one, four singles from it.
At least I thought that was the case. It turns out the last delivery was a no-ball, apparently because England didn’t have enough fielders in the circle. Balbirnie punishes them by slapping the free hit up and over for four.
11th over: Ireland 59-1 (Stirling 42, Balbirnie 3) Moeen Ali, England’s stand-in captain, brings himself into the attack. Stirling mistimes a couple of lofted strokes that both go for two runs rather than the intended four or six. He looks like he wants to go after Moeen.
10th over: Ireland 55-1 (Stirling 38, Balbirnie 3) Tom Curran replaces Saqib Mahmood and is driven pleasantly for three by the new batsman Balbirnie. A quiet first over from Curran.
9th over: Ireland 50-1 (Stirling 36) That was the last ball of the over.
WICKET! Ireland 50-1 (Delany b Willey 12)
Gareth Delany has been bowled behind his legs. He walked across his stumps to Willey, missed an attempted work to leg and heard the horrible clink of ball on bail.
8th over: Ireland 44-0 (Stirling 33, Delany 10) Stirling picks up Mahmood for consecutive sixes over square leg. They were big sixes, too, right off the sweet spot. This is exactly the start Ireland needed.
7th over: Ireland 29-0 (Stirling 19, Delany 9) There’s been no swing for Willey, which makes life much more comfortable for the Ireland openers. Stirling feels secure enough to walk across his stumps and ping Willey into the leg side, with the substitute Liam Livingstone saving the boundary.
6th over: Ireland 25-0 (Stirling 17, Delany 8) Delany gets his first boundary with a beautifully placed cover drive off Mahmood. This is turning into a decent start for Ireland, who now need 304 from 44 overs.
5th over: Ireland 20-0 (Stirling 17, Delany 3) Stirling may be starting to find his range. He spanks Willey past point for four, another very easy-on-the-ear stroke, and works three more to fine leg.
“The Squirell here,” says Niall Morrissey. “Yup, I was being somewhat impish with the André-Beckett thing. It is certain, though, that André was picked up along with other kids and dropped off to school by Beckett on occasion. All of the locals did it. There was no special relationship between the two. It is nice to think there might have been, though. One thing I heard from the locals, though, was that when André returned home during breaks in the wrestling season he left his credit card behind the counter in his local Bar du Sports and all drinks were on him for the locals until he returned to the US.”
4th over: Ireland 9-0 (Stirling 8, Delany 1) Stirling squirts Mahmood to third man for a single, and then Delany clunks a pull that just clears Billings at midwicket. England have started superbly with the ball and could easily have picked up both openers already.
“Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “How good is it to have a game like this to follow, especially when you’ve been stuck at home all day while it chucks it down outside? Will be the same in Orkney I suppose – if you’re really there, that is? Maybe you’re having dinner with Keyser Soze? Anyway, long live cricket.”
I had dinner alone tonight, with Keyser Soze. Silencio. REDRUM.
3rd over: Ireland 7-0 (Stirling 7, Delany 0) Gareth Delany is beaten by a couple of deliveries from Willey, who then has an LBW appeal caught in the throat when his brain registers that there was an inside-edge. Delany has such an ugly batting stance. He has a very high backlift, which isn’t that unusual, but with the face of the bat pointing towards extra cover. I’ve never seen that before.
“French Wikipedia does not just confirm the Andre the Giant/Beckett lifts-to-school story,” says Robert Wilson, “but also adds – ‘Plus tard, quand Roussimoff raconta ses trajets passés avec Beckett, il révéla qu’ils discutaient rarement d’autre chose que de cricket’. (Later, Andre revealed that, on those car journeys, Beckett rarely talked about anything other than cricket.) It’s Beckettian in the sense that it’s a lot funnier and more charming than anything he ever actually wrote (that Wisden avg is INCREDIBLY low).”
2nd over: Ireland 7-0 (Stirling 7, Delany 0) If Ireland are to get close to victory, they probably need a Stirling special – 72 off 59 balls, that kind of thing. First he needs to lay a bat on Saqib Mahmood, whose first three deliveries go past the outside edge. Stirling mows the fifth over mid-on, an entirely disgusting but ultimately effective stroke that brings two runs.
“Hi Adam,” says Damian Clarke. “Today’s OBO has been a veritable m̶i̶n̶e̶f̶i̶e̶l̶d̶ goldmine of information. Not least that Andre The Giant was a wrestler. I’ve only ever known him as the rhyming giant from The Princess Bride. “You want a peanut?” Fabulous stuff.”
1st over: Ireland 5-0 (Stirling 5, Delany 0) David Willey will open the bowling. He averages 98 with the bat and 11 with the ball in this short series. And now he averages 12 with the ball, because Paul Stirling has crashed his third ball through the covers for four. That made the sweetest sound off the bat.
“I’m down a rabbit hole Adam,” writes Pete Salmon. “It’s this… Roussimoff (Andre the Giant) has been unofficially crowned “the greatest drunk on Earth”for once consuming 119 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) beers (in total, over 41 litres (72 imp pt)) in six hours. On an episode of WWE’s Legends of Wrestling, Mike Graham said Roussimoff once drank 156 16-US-fluid-ounce (470 ml) beers (over 73 litres (128 imp pt)) in one sitting. Another story also says prior to his famous WrestleMania III match, Roussimoff drank 14 bottles of wine. Sounds very Bay 13 circa 1975. Eskies. Whatever happened to eskies?”
Andre the Giant today, is it? There was a very good documentary on him on Sky Atlantic last year. I realise now I can’t remember a single thing about it, but it was very good. Or was it?
Eoin Morgan has a tight groin so he won’t be on the field for the Ireland innings. My colleague Moeen Ali will take over as captain.
A bit of dinnertime reading
Thanks Adam, evening everyone. England took a helluva scenic route, but they’ll be happy enough with that score. Ireland’s target is a sizeable 329. Imagine.
Did England do well there? I think they might’ve. Even though, at one stage, they were 190/3 in the 27th over with Morgan (106) and Banton (58) really motoring. That was when captain fell, prompting a collapse of 4/26. Enter Willey, who smacked a 40-ball half-century of his own. Curran’s composure with the tail then made sure it wouldn’t just be 300-odd but, rather, 329 that the visitors need to win. Thanks for your emails – the truth, the lies, Andre the Giant! Over to Rob for the chase. Bye!
ENGLAND ALL-OUT 328! (WICKET! Mahmood c Balbirnie b Little 12) Curran 38 not out.
Curran is shuffling across his stumps with Little trying to follow him. It works, the batsman can’t get his arms away, having to settle for a leg bye instead. Mahmood is the man on strike with two balls to go but he skies the first of those up to mid-off, Balbirnie ending the England innings with his safe pair of hands. England fall one ball short of batting through their overs, setting Ireland 329 to win.
DID TOM CURRAN GET AN EDGE ON WHAT APPEARED TO BE A SWING AND A MISS? No, he did not. DRS tells us so. The wide call is confirmed instead.
49th over: England 325-9 (Curran 36, Mahmood 12) Shot Tom Curran! It might have been a bit of a battle for him for his first 20 runs but he’s kicking on nicely now, leaping onto Young’s overpitched delivery and cracking it straight back past him for four. From there, three further singles putting the No9 back on strike for the 50th. These two have now put on 27 in 23 balls for the final wicket. Painful for Ireland.
48th over: England 318-9 (Curran 30, Mahmood 11) It’s not the plan for Mahmood to face five of the six balls in this Little over, but they still get four from it with Curran back on strike for the 49th. Not a bad result. Ireland will be rightly gutted if England end up adding 30-odd for the final wicket.
47th over: England 314-9 (Curran 29, Mahmood 8) Can Adair finish the job? Not with a slower ball sitting up like that, Curran picking it early and slamming it through midwicket for four. It’s not been a pretty innings for the England all-rounder (we’re calling Tom Curran an all-rounder, right?) but he’s still there and has three overs to push England up beyond 330-odd if they make it to the finish line.
46th over: England 306-9 (Curran 22, Mahmood 7) That’s a frustrating over for Ireland in the end, Mahmood’s inside edge spitting away for four to take the home side beyond 300. A more controlled stroke in that direction ends Little’s set, the young pair running hard and running well. Eight runs from it after the run out.
WICKET! Rashid run out [Tucker] 3 (England 298-9)
Yes, no, yes, gone! Curran tipped and ran, off his inside edge, giving the ‘keeper Tucker had enough time to gather and throw at his own stumps, hitting them direct. Rashid was well short. Ireland continue to scrap hard.
45th over: England 298-8 (Curran 21, Rashid 3) Curran has limped along since arriving, his 20 coming from 41 balls. Six runs are their lot off Young’s over here.
I now have various detailed emails about Andre the Giant and Samuel Beckett and I don’t know what to do. Well done, OBOers – we sure found our tangent.
44th over: England 292-8 (Curran 17, Rashid 2) A breakthrough and four runs from the Campher set, the big wicket of Willey drying up boundaries at the perfect time for Ireland. The all-rounder has finished his ten, taking 2/68 – Moeen and Willey.
Ian Forth is back in my inbox. “Now that you’re a parent, Adam, you will effortlessly accrue many more ‘hobbyhorses I’ve held for years’. These will include but will not be limited to your views on dishwashing stacking, the wisdom of having your lawnmower serviced, traffic cameras, innovations in the DRS referral system, and the relative benefits of an afternoon’s bird spotting compared to mindfulness exercises.” I’m also looking forward to the first time I can weigh into a silly argument by starting off with “Well, as a parent…” – a rite of passage.
WICKET! Willey c Balbirnie b Campher 51 (England 289-8)
Another important wicket for Campher. He nails his off-cutter slower ball, Willey through the shot too early, holing out to long-on. Taken well by Balbirnie, running back with the flight and looking into the sun. Can they finish them off in a hurry?
The post England set Ireland target of 329 to win third one-day international – live! appeared first on inc67.com.