Stirling, Balbirnie hundreds see Ireland beat world champions England

By: AFP      Published: 02:25 AM, 5 Aug, 2020
Stirling, Balbirnie hundreds see Ireland beat world champions England
Ireland's Andy Balbirnie (L) is congratulated by Ireland's Paul Stirling (R) after reaching his century during the third One Day International cricket match between England and Ireland at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, southwest England on August 4, 2020.–AFP

Paul Stirling and captain Andrew Balbirnie both scored hundreds as Ireland completed a shock seven-wicket win over world champions England in the third one-day international at Southampton on Tuesday.

Stirling made 142 and Balbirnie 113, the pair putting on 264 for the second wicket as Ireland chased a target of 329.

When both were out in quick succession, however, it looked like Ireland might falter but Kevin O'Brien -- whose brilliant hundred set up Ireland's stunning win over England at the 2011 World Cup in Bangalore, helped see them to victory with just one ball to spare.

Ireland's win was all the more impressive as they had lost the first two matches in a three-game series after making lowly totals of 172 and 212-9.

Earlier England captain Eoin Morgan, a former Ireland batsman, made 106 against his native country.

But with England on course for an impregnable total, they three wickets for 13 runs as they slumped from 190-3 to 203-6.

Ireland's victory, which rounded off the first ODI series since the coronavirus lockdown, also gave them 10 points in the new World Cup Super League, which will determine qualification for the 2023 50-over showpiece in India.

Brief scores:

England 328, 50 overs (E Morgan 106, T Banton 58, D Willey 51; C Young 3-53)

Ireland 329-3, 49.5 overs (P Stirling 142, A Balbirnie 113)

Result: Ireland win by seven wickets

Series: England win three-match series 2-1