Ireland stun dismal England in rain-affected World T20 match


England suffered a major upset in the Men’s T20 World Cup as an inspired Ireland and rain seriously dented their title hopes in Melbourne.

After a surprisingly meek performance in pursuit of 158, England, one of the tournament favourites, were 105-5 in the 15th over when rain arrived.

With England behind the required rate, Ireland secured a five-run win on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method when the match was called off soon after.

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The result does not end England’s hopes of progressing from Group One, but it leaves them likely needing to beat Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in their remaining games to go through.

After slipping to 86-5, the rain came just as Moeen Ali had begun to wrestle some momentum back for England by striking 12 in three balls.

But it proved too little too late, England left ruing their top-order collapse before they return to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for what is now a crucial match against holders Australia on Friday.

Ireland face Afghanistan on the same day at the same venue.

Wednesday’s later game between New Zealand and Afghanistan at the MCG was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of rain. The Black Caps top the group on three points, with Sri Lanka, England, Ireland and Australia all a point behind.

England upset by Ireland again

The timing of the rain was unfortunate – one more ball and a Moeen six would have taken his side ahead of the score required.

England, though, can have few complaints. Their performance was below-par with both bat and ball.

Ireland have done this before, famously they beat England in Bangalore in the 50-over World Cup of 2011, but they are the second-lowest ranked team left in this competition.

England’s tactics with the bat were curious.

Having lost captain Jos Buttler for a duck to the second ball of the chase, they struggled to find any timing – hitting only eight boundaries in 87 balls.

With the required rate up around 10 runs per over, they looked to take on the long MCG boundaries, with Harry Brook caught off the spin of George Dockrell on the mid-wicket fence.

All of this came after they had managed to peg their opponents back following a wayward start in which they allowed the men in green to race to 102-1 off 12 overs.

England inflicted a collapse of 9-54 to dismiss Ireland in the final over, giving them what looked a manageable chase, but now their hopes of a second T20 world title are in real jeopardy.

Friday’s encounter against Australia, who lost to New Zealand in their opener before beating Sri Lanka, is effectively a knockout game. (BBC Sport)

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