Balbirnie, Stirling steered Ireland to a memorable victory over England

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Balbirnie, Stirling steered Ireland to a memorable victory over England

Southampton: Brilliant centuries from captain Andrew Balbirnie and Paul Stirling steered Ireland to a memorable victory of seven wickets against England in the third ODI against England on Tuesday at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

Stirling (142 off 128 deliveries) and Balbirnie (113 off 112) nullified the effort of England skipper Eoin Morgan who had played a scintillating knock of 104 off 86 deliveries to help England post 328. But a stand of 214 runs between Stirling and Balbirnie helped Ireland reach the target with one ball to spare.

Courtesy of their victory in the first two matches, England had already won the three-match series, which marked the beginning of the Cricket World Cup Super League to determine the teams for the ICC World Cup 2023 in India. However, with Tuesday’s result Ireland grabbed 10 crucial points in the league.

After Balbirnie had asked Morgan to bat first, Ireland found themselves in a positive space as England top-order batsmen Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and James Vince were all dismissed before the score could reached 50.

However, England skipper Morgan and Tom Banton (58 off 51 deliveries) put together a 146-run stand to put the hosts back on top. Later in the innings David Willey (51 off 42) and Tom Curran (38 off 54) also flexed their arms and added 73 runs for the eighth wicket.

Ireland started off steadily in pursuit of what would be their biggest-ever chase in ODIs, edging out their famous victory over England at the 2011 World Cup where they had chased down a target of 328, thanks to a 50-ball century from Kevin O’Brien.

Stirling and Gareth Deland stitched together a 50-run opening partnership, with the former contributing 36 of the runs as Ireland were able to build a platform that had been missing in the previous two ODIs.

Balbirnie, who came in next, then joined forces with Sterling and the pair put on 214 for the second wicket. After scoring 142 off just 128 balls, Sterling got run-out because of a mix-up with his captain in the 42nd over. Thereafter, Balbirnie tried to accelerate the scoring rate. However, that proved costly as he lofted Adil Rashid to Sam Billings at long-off and got back to the dressing room after scoring 113 runs.

England seemed set to wrestle back control at that stage, but Harry Tector (29) and O’Brien (21) helped Ireland register another famous win against England.

Brief scores: England 328 all out (Eoin Morgan 106, Tom Banton 58; Craig Young 3-53), Ireland 329-3 (Paul Stirling 142, Andrew Balbirnie 113; Adil Rashid 1-61)