O'Brien revels in Ireland glory

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Kevin O'Brien & Matt Prior

Kevin O'Brien clears the ropes during his superb innings of 113, which led Ireland to a remarkable win over England in Bangalore

Kevin O’Brien described his sensational 113 in Ireland’s shock World Cup victory over England as the “best innings I’ve ever played”.

O’Brien powered his way to the fastest century in the history of the competition - from just 50 balls - as Ireland chased down a record target of 328 in Bangalore.

After picking up the man-of-the-match award, a delighted O’Brien said: “I’m pretty speechless at the moment.

"To be honest it’s the best innings I’ve ever played since I started playing cricket. It even eclipses playing in the back garden with (brother) Niall, where hitting it out of the garden was out.

“I think anyone is going to struggle to beat that innings. It doesn’t get any better.

“I’ll take that - a World Cup 100 off 50 balls in front of a billion people under lights against England."

O’Brien thumped 13 fours and six sixes in his 63-ball innings to lead a stunning recovery after Ireland had slipped to 111 for five.

“We could have just pottered around, but I chanced my arm and we didn’t look back really. We attacked and it came off,” he added. “I just kept going and kept believing and it went our way.”

“I score pretty quickly - and in the last three games I’ve backed my own ability. If it’s there to be hit, I’ve tried to hit it as hard as I can.”

O’Brien is sporting an unmissable pink and blond hairdo, having dyed his natural ginger hair two days ago when Ireland decided a team makeover was in order to support a cancer charity.

After his innings of a lifetime, he is tempted to keep the new look - even though he admits it is not to everyone’s taste.

“My girlfriend doesn’t like it too much - she’s begging me to shave it off,” he said. But it’s a tremendous day, and we’re all very proud.”

Ireland captain Will Porterfield made a first-ball duck - hardly an auspicious start to the run chase - but he too was all smiles at the sensational outcome.

After Ireland’s first win over England in any format, he said: “I think it’s the biggest win Irish cricket has ever had.

"Beating England in any sport is a fantastic occasion, and I’m sure a lot of people back home have been given something to smile about.

“It shows what we’ve been threatening to do for a while. Doing it is a different story to thinking about it. We’ve had that belief for a couple of years - and we firmly believe we can beat anyone.”

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