Stirling-Balbirnie duet powers Ireland to a memorable win over England
Ireland chased a mammoth target of 329 and avoided a 3-0 whitewash.
A batting masterclass from Paul Stirling and the Irish skipper Andrew Balbirnie stunned the World Cup-winners England as the visitors pulled out a consolation victory in the third ODI at Southampton on August 04.
Ireland rode on the back of terrific centuries from Stirling and Balbirnie as they combined for a match-defining 214 runs partnership for the third wicket.
It always looked like a one-sided affair, even more so after England, batting first, piled up a mammoth 328 runs, but turned into a thrilling, nail-biting contest as Ireland successfully chased the target with one ball to spare.
After giving his wicket recklessly in the first two matches, the onus was on Stirling to provide a steady start in the last ODI, and he did exactly the same, scoring 142 off 128 balls.
England captain Eoin Morgan heaped praises on the Irish opener and said that the latter is a ‘dangerous’ opener who is capable of putting up this sort of performance regularly.
“Paul Stirling had a day out and he’s the ability to do that,” Morgan told reporters.
“But we play against world class players all the time and you know when you do, you need to take those opportunities because they will hurt you. Ireland played really well and thoroughly deserved to win.”
“He’s as dangerous an opening batsman as there is around the world. I know guys do not like bowling at him, he hits good balls for four or six and, on his day, he can take a game away from you,” Morgan added.
Meanwhile, Stirling was delighted with the victory, which was his side second in as many as twelve attempts against England.
“This (innings) is up there, definitely, against England in England, nice knock to have but it’s the win and the team that counts,” Stirling said at the post-match presentation.