Ireland’s long journey to credibility in global cricket took a quantum leap forward with their stunning upset over England at the T20 World Cup and left Andy Balbirnie’s men dreaming of bigger things on the world stage.
While rain and the Duckworth-Lewis scoring method sealed victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday, Ireland thoroughly deserved the win, having outplayed England with bat, ball and in the field before the weather set in.
After already eliminating the West Indies in qualifying, Ireland’s first win in the second round of a T20 World Cup threw the Super 12s wide open and issued a warning to the cricket powers who have largely snubbed them in competition.
Ireland now have another chance to break new ground in Melbourne when they take on Afghanistan on Friday with a potentially pivotal clash against hosts Australia in Brisbane to come.
“The group is wide open. It’s a huge game on Friday night for us,” said Balbirnie.
“If we can go up to Brisbane with a win on Friday, who knows what will happen?
“We’ve obviously lost one and won one, so we’re kind of in the balance. We’re just going to go out and enjoy ourselves.”
With only the one day off before Afghanistan, Ireland have little time to celebrate the England stunner, arguably their finest win since beating the same opponents at the 50-over World Cup in 2011.
Still, Balbirnie said his team were thrilled to make a mark at the MCG, where Ronnie Delany won the 1,500m gold for Ireland at the 1956 Olympics.
“It will always be a special place because of tonight,” Balbirnie said post-match.
“We did the museum tour (here) last night, and Ronnie Delany won a gold medal here in the Melbourne Olympics, and you see his name etched in the history of our sport forever.
“I hope we’ve done something similar. I’ve always said cricket isn’t a big game in Ireland. We’re the flag bearers, and we want to make it as big as possible.”
- T20 World Cup 2022
- T20 World Cup 2022 Points Table
- T20 World Cup 2022 Schedule
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