The Irish cricket team have just pulled off the unthinkable. Not only have they beaten England—generally fancied as the much better team—but they’ve done so in style, and staging the largest ever run chase in World Cup history: 328. They owe it all to the titanic figure of their captain Kevin O’Brien, who swatted six sixes and thirteen fours in the fastest century scored in World Cup history: only 50 balls. He was eventually run out, but not before allowing Ireland to cruise home with an over to spare. It’s a huge victory for the Associate Members, who’ve generally made a poor showing in this World Cup, and a big blow to England, whose bowling and fielding are uncharacteristically ragged and undisciplined. You get a strong feeling that England are, to use a word, “knackered.” This Sunday, England face South Africa—a unit of great power and discipline—and by this reckoning England are going to be thrashed. As for Ireland? Well, they have a real opportunity to make it through to the knockout stage.
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