Thursday 22 February 2018

Cricket: England v Ireland

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss predictably got England off to a blistering start in today's World Cup Group B match against Ireland.

After Strauss won the toss, he and Pietersen (59 not out) immediately set about the opposition's new-ball pair Boyd Rankin and Trent Johnston as England raced to 107 for one after 15 overs.

Strauss, fresh from his career-best 158 in Sunday's tie against India at this same venue, was in a hurry again.

He had two minor moments of fortune, first mistiming a hook at Rankin which steepled just over George Dockrell's head on the fine-leg boundary for six.

That was on 10, and on 27 Strauss chipped first-change Alex Cusack inches short of midwicket.

Otherwise, there were no blemishes as England's openers took advantage of the initial powerplay fielding restrictions.

They found the boundary almost at will, and Pietersen put a six against his name too when he hit Johnston over long-on from the crease.

He reached his first one-day international 50 as an opener from 41 balls, having hit seven fours and a six, and went on to bring up the England hundred with a dismissive pull for another maximum off John Mooney.

On another very good pitch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, England already looked on course for a huge score - even after Strauss paid for an ambitious attempt to pull slow left-armer Dockrell and instead chopped the ball on to his stumps round his legs for 34 to end a stand of 91.

England's chances of defending a total were enhanced, with Stuart Broad passed fit following his tummy upset to reclaim his place from Ajmal Shahzad.

Ireland would have to get by without key all-rounder Andre Botha, ruled out of this match at the last minute by a groin strain.

Press Association

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