33rd over: Ireland 110-7 (Campher 42, McBrine 13) There were as many boundaries in the fourth over of this match as there have been in the last 23 overs. Three, since you ask.
32nd over: Ireland 106-7 (Campher 40, McBrine 11) Mahmood comes back, and Ireland score a few singles. It still looks a fine batting track I think, particularly in the blazing sun.
31st over: Ireland 103-7 (Campher 39, McBrine 9) “Richard Noble got me thinking about ‘that region’,” muses Dave Brown. “I remember opening the batting for my school when I stopped the bowler in his run up, realising I forgot to don my box. I trudged off to the changing rooms to rectify this. Came back to face the first ball of the game … skittled. It felt a long walk back.”
30th over: Ireland 99-7 (Campher 37, McBrine 7) Rashid is all bowled out, his 10 overs costing 26 and bringing one wicket (and a run out).
29th over: Ireland 98-7 (Campher 36, McBrine 7) Moeen’s fifth over goes for a couple.
The ball would have cleared the stumps, concludes ball tracking, and anyway hit the batsman so far from the stumps that the technology can’t be relied upon, leading to a rarely-witnessed umpire’s call for excess distance.
REVIEW! Is McBrine out here?
He came way down the track to Moeen, making the on-field umpire’s job difficult, but though he’s unmoved England think they might have him.
28th over: Ireland 96-7 (Campher 35, McBrine 6) Runs! Rashid leaks seven, including a thumping crack over cow corner from Campher the brings the first boundary for 12 overs.
27th over: Ireland 89-7 (Campher 30, McBrine 4) Campher’s is – wait for it – the sixth slowest score of 30 or more against England since 1990. It’s the fourth slowest since the turn of the century, if that helps.
26th over: Ireland 87-7 (Campher 29, McBrine 3) Rashid’s eighth over yields but a single single.
25th over: Ireland 86-7 (Campher 28, McBrine 3) “So this isn’t a series, but three matches in the World Cup Super League,” notes Gary Naylor. “If England win the first two (some way to go I know), there’s no incentive for Morgan to sit one out and let Moeen lead or Rashid to step down and let Liam Livingstone bowl. Disappointing.” This is true. As with all leagues, it’s not just about having to play the good teams, but when you have to play them. For now England will just want to bank as many points as they can lay their greedy mitts on.
24th over: Ireland 83-7 (Campher 26, McBrine 2) Rashid’s doing good work here, getting some smart turn. And Vince’s near-miss (see 10th over) has got Richard Noble reminiscing. “That’s actually not all that bad,” he avers. “I faced the same rolling ball, kneeling to field it in classic pose at the Toronto Cricket Club while fielding at deep third man in front of the club patio. There I was next to multiple polite folk quaffing champers and masticating gently upon prawn sandwiches. The ball popped up … not at my face … but ‘whither a gentleman wishes a hard ball not’. There was much swearing. There are photos apparently on the web.”
23rd over: Ireland 81-7 (Campher 25, McBrine 1) A single each off Moeen.
22nd over: Ireland 79-7 (Campher 24, McBrine 0) Singh comes in, seems desperate to get off strike as quickly as possible, is beaten by a beauty, hits one straight to Morgan at short cover, and the next time he gets bat on ball he just starts running.
WICKET! Singh run out 0 (Ireland 79-7)
God that’s painful. Singh works the ball to point, calls for a run and sets off; Campher tells him not to be so silly; Banton returns it to Bairstow and Singh is out by miles.
WICKET! O’Brien c Willey b Rashid 22 (Ireland 79-6)
The partnership is broken! O’Brien tries to lift the ball over deep extra cover and, um, doesn’t.
21st over: Ireland 79-5 (O’Brien 22, Campher 24) Moeen comes on, and the 50 partnership comes up.
20th over: Ireland 76-5 (O’Brien 20, Campher 23) A Rashid maiden; Campher misses a sweep and Bairstow whips off the bails, but the batsman’s back foot is grounded. “It’s nice to see David Willey make a successful return to the one-day side,” writes David Wall. “He must have been pretty devastated to be left out of the World Cup squad after being a regular and important member of the starting XI for much of the previous four years. At least in his public messages he seemed to take it well, just offering his support to those that did get picked, but it must have stung. Hopefully he’ll be part of the next T20 World Cup squad at least. Plus it’s nice to see a (former) Northamptonshire player at international level, they’re a rare bunch in recent years.”
19th over: Ireland 76-5 (O’Brien 20, Campher 23) Three singles and a wide, courtesy of a bouncer that overbounced.
18th over: Ireland 72-5 (O’Brien 18, Campher 20) It’s now looking like the benign batting track that Balbirnie thought it was when he decided he would like to bat on it as soon as possible. Of course he wouldn’t have thought he’d be batting on it as soon as he was, but that early-innings wicket avalanche is feeling increasingly distant.
17th over: Ireland 70-5 (O’Brien 18, Campher 20) “I was looking at England’s top ODI bowling performances and was astonished by how many of the top ten were made up of medium-paced dibbly-dobbly not-quite all-rounders. I wonder if Willey is going to join that list today,” ponders Tom van der Gucht. “Please don’t tell Willey or Collingwood that I described them in such a way… Or Flintoff…” Here’s a list of England’s ODI five-fers. It’s good to see the Guardian’s very own Vic Marks on there.
16th over: Ireland 69-5 (O’Brien 17, Campher 20) Campher miscues a cut, and cries of “catch it!” die as it lands wide of Moeen and runs away for four.
15th over: Ireland 60-5 (O’Brien 13, Campher 15) The players have a drink. Finally Ireland have a partnership of sorts, a pair who look minded to stay around and eat up some balls. It still looks likely to be a choice between losing fast and losing slow for Ireland, mind.
14th over: Ireland 56-5 (O’Brien 11, Campher 13) Gah! Rashid rips a googly through O’Brien, just past leg stump, past Bairstow and away for four byes. That was a beauty, but less impressive is the rank full toss with which the over ends. O’Brien wallops it into the covers and gets a couple.
13th over: Ireland 48-5 (O’Brien 7, Campher 13) Tom Curran comes on, and Campher pulls a short ball past point for a tasty four.
12th over: Ireland 41-5 (O’Brien 5, Campher 8) The ball goes past Campher and into Bairstow’s gloves. He appeals, but the umpire doesn’t like it and there’s no review, and just as well as snicko shows the ball missed bat and flicked pad.
11th over: Ireland 41-5 (O’Brien 5, Campher 8) “I’m starting to think maybe England have enough bowlers after all…” says Matt Dony, as Willey comes to the end of his sixth over. They’re about to try a different one, in the shape of Adil Rashid.
10th over: Ireland 37-5 (O’Brien 2, Campher 7) The ball is rolling harmlessly towards Vince at cover when it hits a bump and suddenly jumps towards his face. Happily he reacts before his nose is wiped out. Talking of cover, Campher hits the last ball of the over past him for a lovely four.
9th over: Ireland 33-5 (O’Brien 2, Campher 3) O’Brien top-edges off the shoulder of the bat, but the ball lands safe. Campher gets off the mark with a fine shot through the covers. “If this is all over within an hour, as looks likely, is there any chance of them staging an impromptu 20:20 match to finish off the afternoon?” wonders Peter Gluckstein.
8th over: Ireland 29-5 (O’Brien 1, Campher 0) With all of these wickets clattering all over the place we’ve hardly had time to talk about cheesecakes, which seems a pity. It’s only National Cheesecake Day once a year, after all. “I was moved to write because you mentioned that today is National Cheesecake Day, so I checked,” writes John Starbuck. “It is National Cheesecake Day but only if your nation is the USA. On which topic, note that 1st August is Lammas Day (halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox), when people should bake their own loaves, as a signifier of the harvest.” I’m not much of a fan of cheesecake, to be honest, and ordinarily wouldn’t give it the time of day, let alone an entire 24 hours.
7th over: Ireland 28-5 (O’Brien 0, Campher 0) It is stating the bleeding obvious to say that Ireland need someone to stick around for a while, and since I started writing that sentence when they were only three down the need has become significantly more desperate. Curtis Campher, their other debutant, comes in and successfully negotiates the hat-trick ball. Willey has four wickets for 12 runs from his four overs, this one a double wicket maiden.
WICKET! Tucker lbw b Willey 0 (Ireland 28-5)
Three reds and he’s gone! The ball pitched just in line – another couple of centimetres to the right and he’d have been saved – before straightening and it would have sent leg stump cartwheeling!
REVIEW! England think Lorcan Tucker could be out first ball!
A loud lbw shout, a shake of the head from the umpire, but England want to check!
WICKET! Delany c Banton b Willey (Ireland 28-4)
Another one bites the dust! Delany’s diverting cameo is over after he picks out backward point, where Banton makes a pretty hard catch look pretty easy.
6th over: Ireland 28-3 (Delany 22, O’Brien 0) Mahmood’s second over, the fourth of the game, went for 13 runs as Delany tucked in. Here’s a wicket maiden.
WICKET! Tector b Mahmood 0 (Ireland 28-3)
Tector, itching to get off the mark, edges down and into the stumps!
5th over: Ireland 28-2 (Delany 22, Tector 0) Delany is purring now, and he pumps Willey down the ground, straight as an arrow, for another four, before planting the next past point for more of the same. He’s faced 14 balls so far for his 22.
4th over: Ireland 20-2 (Delany 14, Tector 0) The day’s first boundary comes off the edge of Delany’s bat, which flies wide of a diving second slip. The second comes next ball, which is dispatched over square leg, and the next ball brings another, driven through the covers!
WICKET! Balbirnie c Bairstow b Willey 3 (Ireland 7-2)
Edged and gone! Willey angles the ball across the batsman, who attempts a drive but feathers a nick.
2nd over: Ireland 7-1 (Balbirnie 3, Delany 1) Saqib Mahmood slings down a set. One bonus ball from a delivery that slides down leg, and a single for each batsman. It is such a glorious day to be at the cricket, which only makes the whole no-spectator thing a bit more painful.
1st over: Ireland 4-1 (Balbirnie 2, Delany 0) Stirling only has four balls at the crease, and in that period completely fluffs two shots. The first skews off his bat, along the ground and through midwicket for a couple, the second floats straight to the England captain.
“‘England currently have international cricket scheduled on 21 of the next 33 days’,” quotes Craig Keeley. “That is possibly the most beautiful sentence ever uttered in the English language.”
WICKET! Stirling c Morgan b Willey 2 (Ireland 2-1)
Paul Stirling miscues a shot straight to Morgan at midwicket, who takes the easiest of catches!
The bell has been rung. The ball is in the hands of David Willey. Let’s watch cricket!
The players are ready to take the field, and action is but a couple of minutes away.
“This England team looks a bowler short,” writes Kevin Longshore. “Who would be the sixth bowler if need be?” I’ve no idea, it looks a bowler short to me. James Vince is an occasional bowler?
“I’m very excited. And, generally, as an Ireland fan it’s best to get the excitement in early, as we saw in the test last year. Before the start is often even better,” says Michael Keane. “Presumably Ireland could play their home games against England in Bready and Stormont so there’s no quarantining required? Ditto if they play Scotland. Are Scotland in it? Why not a lockdown tri-series!!! I’m over excited now.”
Scotland are not in it – it’s the 12 Test-playing nations plus the Netherlands. Scotland will get a chance to qualify for the 2023 World Cup in a final 10-team qualifying competition sometime in 2022, which will include the bottom five nations from the Super League and from which two teams will qualify.
Apparently it’s national cheesecake day. I know it’s not strictly relevant, but I thought you might want to know.
The coin has been tossed, and Eoin Morgan has chosen to bowl. Andrew Balbirnie says he would have chosen to bat anyway.
Morgan says Jo Denly came down with an unspecified injury in training yesterday, and he and Reece Topley are both out of the team. Someone else is also out of the team, but Morgan’s microphone keeps failing so we don’t get to hear who it is.
“Points for rain? Could Ireland play all their games at home please?” they will play half of them there, so that’s a start. There’ll be no rain points today, mind – it’s absolutely glorious in Southampton.
Sorry about the radio silence, Sky have been reshowing last year’s World Cup final (again) and it just never gets less compelling.
After the famine, the feast. England’s Test series against West Indies only ended a couple of days ago and now the blink-and-you-miss-it ODI series against Ireland gets under way. It’ll all be over in three games and five days, leaving about 12 hours before the next Test series against Pakistan kicks off, at the end of which there’ll be three T20s, the entire business coming to an end in one month and two days. England currently have international cricket scheduled on 21 of the next 33 days. If rain holds off and all the Tests go long, there could be international cricket played in England in a little over 20% of all hours between now and September.
Listen, I’m not complaining. Cricket beats no cricket, and this series is actually meaningful, being as it is the start of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League™, which is an extra-long, mildly complex qualifying competition for the 2023 World Cup. Ten points for a win, five for a tie/no result/abandonment (yes, you get points for it raining), none for a defeat, tot it all up in a couple of years (see the ICC’s Q&A here).
Here’s Vic Marks’s match preview:
It is now established that Test cricket works better than most expected behind closed doors. On Thursday there is the opportunity to gauge whether the white-ball game, usually a much noisier one, can produce a worthwhile spectacle.
At the Ageas Bowl, England play the first of three 50-over matches against Ireland in their first outing on home turf since winning the World Cup, so they have to step out without fanfare. Not that the captain, Eoin Morgan, seems too bothered by that. “Given the context of the last five months, I’m just delighted that we’re back playing again and that we have cricket back on TV. I’m extremely grateful to Ireland for agreeing to play.”