ENG vs IRE | 1st ODI - Ask me anything ft. Irish batsmen’s protests and the James Vince frustration

ENG vs IRE | 1st ODI - Ask me anything ft. Irish batsmen’s protests and the James Vince frustration

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England thrashed Ireland in the first ODI



England and Ireland kick-started the ICC ODI Super League in the most underwhelming fashion imaginable, as the hosts made easy work of the visitors in under 6 hours to go 1-0 up in the series. But there was, however, a lot of talking points from the game despite its one-sidedness.

Brief scores: England 174/4 (Billings 67* and Young 2/56) beat Ireland 172 all out (Campher 59* and Willey 5/30) by 6 wickets.

Sooooo, were Ireland fired up for the first ever ICC ODI Super League game?

I wish. Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom, ahead of the game, described ICC’s 10-team World Cup plan as ‘short-sighted’ and the performance of his men out in the middle today felt like a full-fledged protest against the governing body’s tyranny. Paul Stirling’s soft chip on the fourth ball of the match set the benchmark for the rest of the batsmen who sent a clear message to the ICC through their performance. 

And what was the message again?

That this “ODI Super League” is meaningless and they couldn’t care less about this excuse of a qualification tournament until and unless the ICC increase the number of teams participating in the World Cup. 

Enough of politics, let’s get back to cricket. Who was Ireland’s best batsmen on the day?

Statistically, debutant Curtis Campher was their best batsman; his 59* saved them from a real embarrassment. His composure and his proficiency versus spin, in particular, stood out. But from an individualistic standpoint, I loved the cameo of opener Gareth Delany. His Sibley-esque backlift and Glenn Maxwell-esque follow-through was quite the sight for sore eyes. His relative ‘success’ despite the commentators lambasting him for his technique made his knock a sweet one.

Ah, what about Kevin O’Brien? Jeez I still get goosebumps thinking about the 2011 WC ton

He was dismissed for 22 - without hitting a single boundary - and I would highly appreciate it if we could avoid talking about KOB. The commentators mentioned his 2011 World Cup ton just the 345 times in his 36-ball stay at the middle despite it having come nine-and-a-half years ago. Here’s a trivia for you: Kevin O’Brien’s last ODI ton was ‘that’ century in Bengaluru in 2011 and since then, he’s gone 85 innings without an ODI century. SO CAN WE STOP PRETENDING LIKE ENGLAND ARE BEING INTIMIDATED BY HIM? Let go and move on, thank you. 

Stop snapping; who are you, Jofra Archer? Anyway, on to the English bowling. How on earth were they so efficient? Did the cloudy conditions aid them?

Not at all, the conditions were so sunny that I had to in fact go and recheck if the match was actually being played in England. To be honest, it was a combination of the English bowlers’ accuracy and Irish batsmen’s rust/ineptness that resulted in the away side posting an appalling total. Looking at David Willey’s first spell - 6-2-20-4 - you’d think he was unplayable but in reality, it was just above-average bowling being made to look world-class by some substandard batting. In fact, the numbers prove it too. According to CricViz, Willey found just 0.28 degrees of swing today - he's never found so little swing in the opening 20 overs of an ODI. 

Interesting. Which English bowler impressed you the most, then?

Saqib Mahmood, undoubtedly. He has such a smooth action and he was clocking the 87/88 mph mark with relative ease. The boy has the natural flair of a fast bowler and with each of the next three ICC events happening in countries where raw pace will play a huge role, Mahmood is just the kind of bowler England need to be investing in. Especially given the fact that they can’t run both Wood and Archer to the ground. 

What irked you the most about Ireland’s innings?

I wanted to say Ireland’s top-order batting, but then I remembered Tom Curran’s mustache and Kevin Pietersen’s commentary. I’m going to stick my head out and say KP’s commentary. 

So did the Irish bowlers fare as bad as their batsmen?

Ah not at all. They had England at 78/4 at one point and for a vast majority of the first 20 overs, it felt like they were hitting the perfect lines and lengths on this wicket; even better than the English bowlers. 

Ooooh 78/4? I smell complacency from the English top-order

Indeed. Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton all batted like they were too good to be playing this match - and paid the price for it. James Vince, as usual, scored the best, most elegant 25 of all time before abruptly edging a ball out of nowhere.

Jesus Christ, James Vince did it AGAIN?

Oh yes he did. I’ve never seen another batsman like Vince in my life, to be honest. Every time he bats he looks like he’s got the world at his feet yet something happens to him every goddamn time he reaches the 25-run mark. 

Ah that’s so frustrating. Who helped England get over the line then?

Sam Billings. Yeah, remember him? The kid who was supposed to be the next Jos Buttler and even got picked in the IPL before going AWOL from the international set-up. Billings’ 67* today was definitely right-up there as one of his best ODI knocks. He pulled, cut, drove, ran, swept and reverse-swept with authority and he did so with his side under enormous pressure. Certainly a big positive for England, his performance. 

Any interesting takeaways from Ireland’s bowling?

I was absolutely taken aback by Curtis Campher. Yeah, the kid who scored a fifty with the bat. He bowled with so much energy and passion and him hitting the 135 kph mark on a consistent basis is great news for Ireland.  In Campher, Ireland have a genuinely talented all-rounder; let’s just hope they give the kid a long run in the team for him to develop into a reliable and consistent performer. And yes, Campher aside, I thought the visitors’ bowlers showed great heart by giving England a scare despite losing their spearhead Barry McCarthy after just 5 balls. 

So do you think Ireland can bounce back in the series?

Honestly speaking, I simply cannot see that happening. They got smashed today despite the English batsmen having a stinker, I cannot fathom the punishment their bowlers will take if and when the likes of Roy and Bairstow get going. I’m going 3-0 England in this series. 

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