In the first major upset of ICC World Cup 2015, 'minions' Ireland stunned two-time champions West Indies after chasing down a mammoth 300-plus. This the sixth occasion in World Cup history when a side has chased a target of 300-plus, of which Ireland alone was a part three times.
It is not the first time when Ireland has done such an upset in a World Cup encounter. The team in the previous two World Cups emerged as a gaint killer. Pakistan and England tasted defeat at the hands of this side that had no big names associated to it.
Pakistan would never forget the league game in the 2007 World Cup at West Indies, which was no less than a nightmarish tour for the side. Despite having big guns like Afridis, Inzamans, Guls and Hafeez, was stunned by the new comer, Ireland, in a league match.
Ireland, with its disciplined bowling, bundled out a star-studded Pakistani side to a paltry 132 in 45.4 overs and later chased down the target with 32 balls remaining and had 3 wickets in hand.
Loss to Ireland, wasn't the lone low point associated with Pakistan side during 2007 World Cup. Soon after team's exit from the big event the team's chief coach Bob Woolmer was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the his hotel room. This brought further humiliation for the side as finger of suspicision were raised at several players in the side.
In 2011 Ireland shocked England
After upsetting Pakistan four years back, an 'inexperienced' Ireland shocked a formidable looking England at Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy stadium in the 2011 World Cup. Irish side not only defeated a confident looking English side but also did it in style by chasing a mammoth total of 327 runs in a nail biting day-night encounter.
The match went down the wire but it was the Irish side that held its nerve. Star of the match was Kevin O'Brien (113) who slammed the fastest ton -- 100 in 50 balls -- in World Cup history to ensure his side reaches home safely before he got run out while trying to get some quick runs.
West Indies stunned today
Today the Irish side humbled West Indies by chasing first 300-plus total of the ongoing tournament. In all the 5 matches played so far every side batting first has piled 300 or more runs while it was the first successful run chase.
Credit for the successful run chase goes to Ireland's batters who looked calm, composed and confident about chasing the target on the flat track. From the begining of the run chase the 'inexperienced' Irish batters looked confident and gave not much chances to the 'experienced' WIndies bowlers, who looked confused and short of a strategy.
Warning bells for Team India?
Ireland's all round performance against West Indies and the way Zimbabwe gave some scares to South Africa has set off the warning bells for team India. Thus, Dhoni & Co. cannot take these sides lightly to avoid any hiccups to make it to the super eight. Men In Blue in the past World Cup encounters have paid the price of taking the minions lightly.
The team must be reminded that the taking Bangladesh lightly in 2007 proved fatal for Rahul Dravid's squad as a result it too was shown the doors in the preliminary round. Hence, skipper Dhoni must keep it in mind that sides like these have done major upsets in the past and can do the same if mistook lightly.
But, cricket experts are also of the view that these sides are deft at playing pace but lack experience against spin attack and Team India's spin attack would play a crucial role against them.