100 not-out Kevin O’Brien reflects on magical moments with Ireland

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O’Brien is set to win his 100th one-day international cap for Ireland on Tuesday in the fifth game of the series against Afghanistan.

Cricket Ireland asked the 32 year-old all-rounder to select his favourite moments from those games.

Here are his ‘Magnificent Seven!’

1. His match winning 113 as Ireland beat England by three wickets at Bangalore in the 2011 World Cup.

When O’Brien came to the wicket Ireland were in deep strife at 106 for 4 - soon to be 111 for 5 - chasing an England total of 327.

In a brilliant counter-attacking display he scored the fastest hundred in World Cup history, striking 13 fours and 6 sixes from just 50 balls to lead the team to the greatest shock in World Cup history.

An England attack that contained Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann were left shell-shocked by O’Brien’s belligerent batting as he and Alex Cusack’s 162 run stand set up a quite remarkable win.

2. Victory over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup

The game that announced Irish cricket to the global stage at Sabina Park on St Patrick’s Day 2007. Chasing just 129 to beat Pakistan, Kevin curbed his natural aggressive style as elder brother Niall took the attack to Pakistan with a match winning 72.

Kevin made just 16 not out from 51 balls, but together with Trent Johnston got Ireland over the line in the first of many famous wins.

3. A wicket maiden in the 49th over versus Zimbabwe in the 2007 World Cup.

With Zimbabwe needing just nine runs from the last two overs to beat Ireland in their first World Cup appearance, O’Brien dismissed Prosper Utseya and he and Trent Johnston ran out Christopher Mpofu in a wicket maiden.

With Zimbabwe still needing nine runs from the last over bowled by Andrew White, they managed just eight as the game ended in a dramatic tie.

4. His and Ireland’s ODI debut against England taking the wicket of Andrew Strauss with his first ball.

Ireland and O’Brien’s first ODI came on the 13th of June 2006 in front of a capacity 8000 crowd at Stormont in Belfast.

He took the wicket of England captain Andrew Strauss with his first ball in ODI cricket, joining a select band of players who have acheived the feat.

Marcus Trescothick scored 113 and Ian Bell 80 as England made 301 for 7. Ireland in reply made 263 for 9, with Andre Botha making 52, and O’Brien a fine 35.

5. His highest ODI score of 142 against Kenya in the World Cricket League.

O’Brien scored a brilliant 142 as he and William Porterfield (104) shared a fourth wicket stand of 227 in Nairobi. Despite Ireland scoring 284, Kenya’s Thomas Odoyo led the hosts to a dramatic one-wicket win.

On the same day (February 2nd 2007) Ed Joyce scored 107 for England against Australia at the SCG. That led to the quiz question - how did three Irish men score ODI hundreds on the same day but Ireland lost the game!

6. Scoring 98 not out against Scotland in the 2010 World Cricket League final at Amsteelveen.

Ireland faced traditional rivals Scotland in the final of the 2010 World Cricket League in The Netherlands. It was an understrength Irish side, missing their county regulars and when Scotland reached 141 without loss it looked as if it would be a bridge too far for the Irish side.

However, O’Brien took two wickets as did Trent Johnston, George Dockrell and Nigel Jones as Scotland faltered to 232 all out.

In reply Ireland were wobbling at 51 for 3, which in effect was 51 for 4 as Andrew Poynter had dislocated his shoulder in the first innings. O’Brien and Andrew White (79) won the game with a superb 4th wicket stand of 160 as Ireland’s successful domination of Associate cricket continued.

7. Scoring an unbeaten 84 against Pakistan at Clontarf in 2013 in a tied ODI.

Ireland and Pakistan played out a tight-fought two-match series in bitterly cold conditions in Dublin back in May 2013.

Mohammed Hafeez scored 122 as Pakistan set Ireland 275 to win in 47 overs. Despite Paul Stirling’s brilliant 103, it seemed Ireland would fall short.

Enter O’Brien who bludgeoned his way to 84 not out from just 47 balls hitting 11 fours and two sixes, taking 12 off Saeed Ajmal’s last three balls to secure the tie - the Pakistani being the number one-ranked bowler in the world back then.