Strauss hails brilliant O'Brien

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

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Kevin O'Brien

England had no answer to the power of Kevin O'Brien as he recorded the fastest century in World Cup history to help Ireland to victory

Andrew Strauss paid tribute to one of the best performances in the history of one-day international cricket after Kevin O’Brien’s record-breaking 113 led Ireland to a shock victory over England in Bangalore.

O’Brien recorded the fastest hundred in World Cup history as Ireland recovered from 111 for five to successfully chase down their mammoth target of 328 with three wickets and five balls to spare.

The powerful all-rounder launched 13 fours and six sixes on his way to and beyond a 50-ball century which spared no England bowler.

A magnanimous Strauss said: “It was an outstanding innings - the gall he showed to take the game to us in that situation.”

O’Brien dominated a stand of 162 in 17 overs with Alex Cusack, which saw them take 62 off five overs of the batting powerplay.

“They took the powerplay, and Kevin O’Brien struck the ball beautifully," Strauss added.

“He rescued them from a pretty perilous position to one where they were up with the rate and just needed to keep their heads in the end.

“It was a bit of a shock to us, and I’m bitterly disappointed because we did a lot of things badly in the field again.”

England dropped five catches in all, reprieving O’Brien on 91 and Cusack on 32.

Strauss admitted: “We could have taken our catches. I dropped one, and we dropped others as well. That cost us the game, there’s no doubt about it.

“Our bowling could have been better. We got taken by surprise there and we can’t afford to give away those kind of chances here. They are very flat wickets and we were asking for trouble.”

Strauss was aware of Ireland’s firepower down the order, but did not see such a sustained assault coming.

He added: “I thought we were in a great position to win the game. We knew they had some dangerous hitters in the back-end of their order, but, with the rate climbing as much as it was, it seemed if we could stay patient we would pick up wickets.”

Asked how big a setback this will be for him personally as he tries to follow England’s Ashes success this winter with World Cup glory, Strauss said: “I don’t tend to rank my lowest moments - it’s not something I have a habit of doing - but it’s been a bitterly disappointing day for us.”

Andrew Strauss

Strauss puts down a difficult chance to reprieve O'Brien on 91, one of five dropped catches during a below-par fielding display

He gave Ireland just an outside hope after Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell had scored 92 and 81 respectively to help England to a sizeable total on a superb surface.

“I thought they were in with a chance because we chased down a similar score against India," added Strauss. "But I backed our bowlers and fielders to put on a display that would be too tough. We did not do that, and only have ourselves to blame.

“But you have to give credit to Kevin O’Brien and the whole Ireland side for the way they chased that down.

“They have a pretty experienced side and have done it before in World Cups - and they will continue to run the major nations pretty close in this competition.”

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