Fortuity or hap would be the most precise words to describe the victory of Ireland over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup. It was somewhere possible to believe that associate nations have a long history of defeating the World heavy weights of cricket from Kenya to Canada to Bangladesh (who in the initial days of their uncertainty had defeated teams like Australia). But over the years in cricket, if the associate nations have repeated the surreal history of defeating quality nations then it surely means they are not anymore minnows in world cricket by any margin.
Coming into the 2011 World Cup, 14 teams were featured in the blockbuster 50-overs tournament. Two groups were formed and seven teams divided into two groups, the top four teams of each group made it to the knockout round. While in the group A, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya were framed. On the other side in the Group B, England, South Africa, India, West Indies, Ireland, Bangladesh and Netherlands were framed.
By the end of the group stage, all the best test playing nations were qualified for the quarter finals. But in the group stage round there was the one match which made the fans watch that performance on the loop over the years.
In the group B match, when Ireland locked horns against England on 2nd March 2011 at Bangalore, hardly anyone had believed about the upset in the one sided match. But cricket is the game of complete uncertainties and that day it was proved quite perfectly by the underdogs Ireland after they had chased down the massive target of 328 runs with 3 wickets in hand in the end.
Where this match had opened the account for Ireland's campaign in the tournament with victory after losing its first match against Bangladesh. On the other side, the campaign of England at once looked completely derailed but in the end they have made it to the quarter finals somehow after surviving unexpected punches. In the match against Ireland, the captain of England has decided to bat first without any surprise and posted the impossible target for Ireland of 328 runs in the 50 overs. With the handful contribution of top-order batsman of England at the same venue where they played tied against India earlier this time around had posted the 327 runs in their allotted 50 overs. Kevin Pieterson (59), Jonathan Trott (92) and Ian Bell (81) were the leading run scorers for England's big score against Ireland while batting first.
In response, it was all over when the Ireland team had crumbled down to 111 runs towards the end of 25th over for the loss of 5 wickets. It was all over for Ireland, but the final twist was about to come. As Kevin O’Brien and Alex Cusack from Ireland made what it was impossible in any human brain to any extent. Out of nowhere both of them started the counter attack punch with some glorious cover drives and some of the surreal sixes came from the middle of bat of Kevin O’Brien sent the message to England that this picture is not over yet. For the sixth wicket both the batsmen have added on 162 runs in just 17.3 overs. Kevin O’Brien with storm has unleashed himself and made it to record books with the fastest century in world Cup history. And, in the end Ireland chased down the target with 3 wickets in hand along with the brilliant century of Kevin O’Brien who scored 113 runs off 63 balls.
Check out the scorecard here: Ireland vs England 2011 cricket world cup