Home Sports T20 World Cup Super 12s: England v Ireland – live updates

T20 World Cup Super 12s: England v Ireland – live updates

T20 World Cup Super 12s: England v Ireland – live updates

Key events

12th over: Ireland 103-1 (Balbirnie 48, Tucker 34) Balbirnie shoves two to long off, then four singles follow…

11th over: Ireland 97-1 (Balbirnie 44, Tucker 32) England try Liam Livingstone, which makes some sense – Ireland have tuck(er)ed into the quicks. His first over goes for five singles, blessed relief for Egland and decent consolidation for Ireland. I wonder if we’ll see Moeen at the other end, because Woakes has been monstered; it’s almost as if medium pace gets whacked in Australia – if that’d been happening nearly every four years for the last 200 years, England would have no excuses for not knowing about it.

10th over: Ireland 92-1 (Balbirnie 41, Tucker 30) Buttler is cycling through his bowlers trying to make something happen and his latest trick is to bring back Woakes, who begins with a leg-side wide then offers a freebie in the same area. Perhaps he was trying to follow Balbirnie, but a bit of extra bounce makes it relatively easy for him to haul around the corner for four, and this is great stuff from the two lads in the middle. A pair if singles follow, then Balbirnie canters down and carts over Curran’s head for four to midwicket! AND OHHHH MY DAYS! Another one down leg side, more bounce … and Balbirnie gets underneath to help it around the corner for six! A single follows, making it 18 from the over, and at drinks, Ireland are in command! England, meanwhile, could use a stiff one several!

9th over: Ireland 74-1 (Balbirnie 25, Tucker 29) Rashid is such a weapon for England in these middle overs, a wicket-taker who can keep a lid on scoring. But Ireland have been so composed out there and, after a single to Balbirnie, Tucker forces another to midwicket that raises the 50 partnership. Balbirnie then drives pleasantly to deep extra and they run two, before one more to long on makes it five off the over. That’s a bit better from England, but they really need a breakthrough because Ireland bat deep.

8th over: Ireland 69-1 (Balbirnie 21, Tucker 28) Stokes returns and England could really use his golden arm here – I’m sure that’s why he’s been brought on. They have to make do with four singles which, given how the last few overs have gone, they’d have taken.

“Feels like bit of a wasted powerplay for England,” emails Sujit, “getting too carried away with the bounce and not pitching it up often enough. Ireland would be very happy with the start they have got.”

Yes, although I think it’s also fair to note that the kind of shots that have gone to the fence, smears over the off side, are more of a reflection of how Ireland have chosen to bat than of England’s lengths, I think.

7th over: Ireland 65-1 (Balbirnie 19, Tucker 26) Rashid into the attack, and we have got ourselves a ball-game! Balbirnie makes room to address his loosener, forcing a full toss over point for four, and Ireland have momentum. Like the pro he is, though, Rashid responds well, ceding just two singles from his remaining five deliveries.

6th over: Ireland 59-1 (Balbirnie 14, Tucker 25) S-Cuzz into the attack, and Tucker flicks his first delivery away for two to square leg, then makes room to drive an attempted yorker that’s actually a full toss under Stokes’ dive at mid off. This is already another acceptable over for Ireland, and though a dot comes next, Tucker then glances two more off the hip. Curran responds with a sharp bouncer, but have an absolute look! Tucker marches down the track to flow Curran back over his head for a check-driven six over mid on! That’s a gloooorious shot, and makes it 14 from the over along with the third-highest powerplay of the tournament!

5th over: Ireland 45-1 (Balbirnie 14, Tucker 11) In steams Wood again, and lands a bouncer on the index finger of Balbirnie’s right hand. It looks a right sair yin, and there’s a break while the physio takes a look; I doubt the next ball will be a full one. Or maybe it will because the better’s expecting a bouncer, or maybe it’ll be short because the bowler knows he’s expecting a bouncer so is expecting a full one, and so on to infinity. Here it comes … and Wood goes full, so Balbirnie makes room again, flaying over cover-point for four! Forcing high into the off side seems like a plan and it’s working pretty well, so the next two deliveries are leg-side; one goes for a bye, the other Tucker just about flicks around the corner for one more, before Balbirnie squeezes the over’s final delivery for two to third man. Eight off the over, and Wood is halfway through his allocation.

4th over: Ireland 37-1 (Balbirnie 8, Tucker 10) Balbirnie nudges a single to square leg, then Tucker skips to off and scoops Woakes for four! That’s a lovely shot, and Ireland will know they need to make hay when Wood is fielding, because they can’t rely on wides, byes and edges to do their scoring for them. Two singles and a dot follow, Woakes pulling back length and beating Tucker’s forward press for the latter, but then when he offers width, the batter stands, waits, and cuts hard, just over Hales’ dive at extra, and that’s four more! Great start for Ireland!

3rd over: Ireland 26-1 (Balbirnie 6, Tucker 1) Welcome to the middle! Wood flings an even quicker delivery down at Tucker, who forces it off his sternum and escapes to the non-striker’s; Balbirnie is then served one that straightens past his outside edge. This is affirming, terrifying stuff, and when Balbirnie backs away – who wouldn’t? – Wood follows him. Buttler then pulls off a fine dive to save byes, shies at the stumps, and they run three buzzers to add to the wide. What an over that was; you just cannot take your eyes off the middle when Wood has ball in hand.

WICKET! Stirling c Curran b Wood 14 (Ireland 21-1)

Another short one from Wood – short and lethal at 150km/h. So Stirling goes again, wider this time, and on the fence at third man, Curran holds just as we knew he would. Wood is flying.

3rd over: Ireland 21-0 (Stirling 14, Balbirnie 6) Yup, just the one over of Stokes; Wood will take over, in a spell sponsored by the phrase “point of difference”. And Stirling goes at his loosener, a huge mow sending the ball backwards over the batter’s head! On the fence, Curran does a great job of leaping to bring it back into play … but he clips the plastic with ball in hand, and that’s six!

2nd over: Ireland 15-0 (Stirling 8, Balbirnie 6) England will be doing their best to keep the ball dry while Ireland will hope their batters can settle quickly. Woakes second – and fifth – ball jags in and hits Balbirnie on the thigh, then Balbirnie makes room to attack the last, carving four over extra cover. Ireland will be happy with this start.

The players are back with us and we’re still getting our 20 overs. Play!

In the meantime, we’re looking at Sam Curran, who’s one of those cricketers it can be hard to grasp purely by analysing the disciplines. Of course, he’s a nifty and improving bowler, enterprising batter and reliable fielder. But what elevates him is temperament and timing; because of that, he’s a much better player than his skills, which are considerable, dictate he should be.

Cricinfo report that the rain has stopped and the covers are coming off. Hopefully we get on soon enough to preserve the full length of the match, and get away without any more intrusion.

I wonder if the ground will make a difference here; at the G, you need to hit it properly to reach the fence, unlike in Hobart. On the one hand, you’d think England’s batters might be better at working the ball about, but on the other, it might reduce the impact of their superior hitting. Which isn’t to say Ireland don’t have destructive batters themselves, they do, which is to say no one knows anything. Or that I don’t, definitely one of the two.

This time, they’ve not just covered the strip but some of the pitch too – it looks like a longer stoppage, and probably a shortened match. I guess Ireland won’t mind that – on the one hand, I’m sure they want to test themselves over the stretch, but on the other, they’re serious sportsmen who want to win, and the more time lost, the better their chances of doing that.

Rain stopped play

2nd over: Ireland 11-0 (Stirling 8, Balbirnie 2) Too full and too wide from Woakes, so Stirling, who stays on leg, reaches and kind of one-arms backward of backward point for four. A wide follows, but England won’t mind that too much because it was generated by massive outswing, but Ireland are settled now and Stirling steps away, splays legs, and smears over the off side; they run three. But, well, it’s raining again and coming down much more heavily than before. We’ve got about half an hour built in before we start losing overs and we’ve already had 18 minutes of that; because there’s a second match following this one, we can’t just let nature take its course. Three balls remain in this over.

1st over: Ireland 3-0 (Stirling 1, Balbirnie 2) There’s a bit of grass on the pitch that perhaps explains the change of seam for spin made by Ireland. Anyhow, Stirling chops to backward point for one, then Balbirnie eases two to third man; Stokes has been a bit short here, unusual for him given he’s taken the new meteorite to find any swing that might be out there. But his final delivery jags back in and, beats the bat and thunks into Balbirnie’s thigh; that might encourage Woakes, who I assume will begin from the other end.

Gosh, that clean-up was quick; off we go! Stokes to bowl, Stirling to face.

England are huddling on the boundary – discussing the match, rather than because it’s cold – and the stumps are in the ground, so we should be good to get away imminently.

Simon Burnton

Simon Burnton

“And it’s raining again. Just a super-fine mist, but the covers are going back on,” returns our man. “Suddenly a bit brighter here, and covers going off again.”

I guess it’s usually a bit different if the weather comes before play starts, rather than once it’s under way. So far, so Melbourne, says a a man who’s never been to Australia and is sat in a north London box-room.

Simon Burnton

Simon Burnton

Our man in Melbourne gets in touch: “Covers coming back off now, and a rope going around the outfield. But I’m not sure Melbourne’s had four consecutive rain-free hours in the last day or so, so they might be on and off a bit. Play due to start 15 minutes late. Jos Buttler was asked about the weather in his pre-match press conference yesterday, and this is what he said:

‘Where it’s reasonable if you can continue the game as much as you can, I think that’s the right decision. If it becomes dangerous or unfair then it’s certainly the right decision to stop the game. As much as we can, if we can get the game moving, get the game continuing, say for instance we play tomorrow and there’s a little bit of rain which isn’t that heavy and it looks like it’s going to blow through, can we just stay on and keep going?’”

Ach, it’s raining again.

The hessian mat is back on the pitch.


Ireland fan dressed as a leprechaun with  a sign saying Aussie flies are more annoying than this rain.
Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

We’ll get under way in 10 minutes, at quarter past the hour.

The thing I love about T20 – and, if I’m honest, the thing that sometimes bothers me about it – is that I’ve not a clue who’s going to win this competition. I love it because that’s one reason we play – we don’t know who’s going to win – and that sometimes bothers me because we’re trying to measure who’s best, and in the format, that often depends on the day, rather than a general superiority.

The players are going off, but the expectation is that they’ll be back on before long.

The start has been delayed; by how much I’m not sure.

Out come the players for the anthems. It’s still raining a bit, but not, it doesn’t seem enough to prevent us from getting on with things; the PA asks the few in the crowd to stand if they can and remove their hats. I did not know the latter was a thing, but the mascots have all kept theirs on.

Don’t forget that when this match is finished, we’ve got New Zealand v Afghanistan, so really need the weather to behave for us. Hopefully we get two full matches.

Rain stops anthems

Oh dear, it’s raining. It wasn’t meant to be, and if it doesn’t stop we might wind up with a five-over shootout; in the meantime, the covers are coming on.


Ireland: 1 Paul Stirling, 2 Andy Balbirnie (capt), 3 Lorcan Tucker (wk), 4 Harry Tector, 5 Curtis Campher, 6 George Dockrell, 7 Gareth Delany, 8 Mark Adair, 9 Fionn Hand, 10 Barry McCarthy, 11 Josh Little.

England: 1 Jos Buttler (capt & wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Sam Curran, 9 Chris Woakes, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood.

Morgan confesses that, in the 2016 World Cup final, he didn’t give Stokes enough help whereas, in 2019, he helped Archer slow things down. Nevertheless, he was one of the greatest captains I’ve ever seen, in any sport – I can’t think of too many whose personal impact has been comparable.

The ODI series starts the day after the Test side arrive in Abu Dhabi to prepare for Pakistan – I really wish it wasn’t like that.

Eoin Morgan is a little surprised England haven’t rested Chris Woakes or Mark Wood. The former, he says, often pulls up stiff, and England need them firing for the Australia and New Zealand matches coming up. On England’s fielding, he says that against Afghanistan, they made half-chances look easy and can pull it off because they train longer and harder than anyone else. That kind of thing can turn big matches.

Buttler perhaps errs in saying he’s gone for his strongest team, later revising that to strongest team for the situation.

Balbernie would’ve fielded first, as with a bit of rain around and also in general, he thinks it can be easier to chase. His team enjoyed themselves in Hobart but are excited to be the first Irish side to play at the G and make new great memories; they make one change, Fionn Hand replacing Simi Singh – so seam for spin.

Andy Balbernie tosses, Jos Buttler calls heads, and heads it is! England will field!

He says overcast conditions motivated his decision, that his team set a great standard of fielding against Afghanistan, and England are unchanged.

Sky have just advertised their channel by showing footage of Ben Stokes backed by the commentary “Cut away for four”. Yes, they’ve literally divested Nasser of his first “Cut away”; I’ve called Interpol.


It doesn’t take much for sports fans to lose themselves in nostalgia – and, let’s be real, given the absolute state of things, we could be forgiven for diving into an idealised pool of how things once were … if that didn’t have so much to do with getting us here in the first place. But it’s nevertheless impossible to conceive of an Ireland v England World Cup match without taking ourselves back to Bengaluru in March 2011, when Kevin Pietersen scored 59, Jonathan Trott 92 and Ian Bell 81 … only for Kevin O’Brien to play one of the great innings, 113 off 73, to help Ireland home by three wickets with five balls to spare.

A lot’s changed since then; most particularly, England have learnt to play limited overs cricket. But when it comes to T20, that doesn’t always matter: of all the sports in the world, only MMA can claim to be as unpredictable. In the latter, it’s because there are so many ways to finish a contest and finish it quickly, which is sort of the case with the former too. Cricket has always been an individual sport played by teams – likewise MMA in its way, given the propensity of fighters to use the word “we” when talking about putting themselves through barely believable punishment – and in the shortest form, one brilliant knock or spell can render everything else irrelevant. Just ask Ben Stokes.

So what of today’s match? Well, England arrive at it in terrific form, having edged Pakistan in one of the great serieseseses then walloped Australia, Pakistan again and Afghanistan in the last month. But Ireland are at it too, having eliminated West Indies to reach this stage, and though they were well-beaten by Sri Lanka in their first Super 12 match, both sides know they’re one Kevin O’Brien innings away from shocking the world.

Play: 3pm local, 5am BST



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