Well, Ireland might not be the favorites to either make it to the finals or the semi-finals of this world cup let alone winning the same. Nor are they the ones who would make it to the quarter-finals by any chance. But, one thing that is to be accepted by all teams is that all non-test playing nations have come to play cricket be it good or bad. And, in case any team fails to digest this fact the result is well in front of us keeping in mind the match between England and Ireland which Ireland won rather than to say that England lost.
There have been matches between West Indies and Kenya in 1996 world cup, India vs Bangladesh & Pakistan vs Ireland in the 2007 world cup, Sri Lanka vs Kenya in 2003 world cup all of which gives the world a clear indication of not to underestimate their opponents. Likewise, there are some other intelligent players like Herschelle Gibbs who reserves all of his talent to hit six sixes off one over against Holland and some Gary Kirsten who keeps his momentum to fall just 1 run short in making it to the history books for being the highest individual run scorer in ODIs to UAE.
Still, Gary Kirsten holds the record for the highest individual score in world cups with his 188* being 5 runs better than the next best score by Sourav Ganguly. Yesterday, unlike in previous major upsets, it was Ireland who earned a victory against England and not England underestimating them. Ireland at one stage were reeling at 111/5 until Kevin O'Brien took charge as well as the challenge. That was not the result of anybody underestimating them. There was a 161 run 6th wicket partnership between O'Brien and Alex Cusack when the asking rate was above 8.0 an over and the target 327 runs.
In the process, needless to be said, Kevin O'Brien became the fastest century scorer in the history of world cups overtaking Mathew Hayden's record which came off 66 balls. The record and the partnership reminds me of the 6th wicket partnership between Kapil Dev and Syed Kirmani in 1983 world cup in that famous match against Zimbabwe where India were reeling at 16/5 at one stage and Kapil Dev played the innings of his life. Still, Kevin O'Brien's was a better one for, it came by an Irish batsman against the makers of cricket. But, England has to once again feel unlucky after they failed 1st against India and then yesterday against Ireland.