SOUTHAMPTON, July 31: David Willey celebrated his return to the England team with a maiden one-day international five-wicket haul as the world champions drew first blood in the Royal London series against Ireland at the Ageas Bowl.
Ireland’s Andy McBrine, right, makes his ground during the 1st ODI between England and Ireland at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, England, on Thursday. – AP/PTI
In England’s first home ODI since winning their first 50-over World Cup, Willey’s 5-30 restricted Ireland to 172 all out in 44.4 overs, a total the hosts overhauled with six wickets to spare. England had lurched to 78-4 but Sam Billings, included after Joe Denly’s withdrawal due to a back injury, settled the team’s nerves with a 67 not out off 54 deliveries in an unbroken 96-run stand with Eoin Morgan.
England got over the line with 22.1 overs still remaining at the start of a three-ODI series that marks the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, forming part of the qualification process for India 2023. But, on a surface where timing proved troublesome for a number of batsmen, the day belonged to Willey, who was chiefly responsible for Ireland teetering on 28-5 after being invited to bat first under sunny skies.
After the players took a knee to support Black Lives Matter, Ireland were saved from free fall by international debutant Curtis Campher, a South African-born all-rounder who qualifies through his mother’s passport. The 21-year-old showed no lack of patience and fortitude in his 59 not out from 118 balls in front of the vast swathes of empty seats, before Willey returned to the attack and ended the innings.
Willey’s prowess with the new ball is well-known and despite little evidence of significant movement, he was still effective as Paul Stirling clipped to midwicket before Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie was tempted into an expansive drive, only succeeding in nicking through to Jonny Bairstow.
Saqib Mahmood cramped Harry Tector for room and the ODI debutant chopped on while Willey struck twice in two balls as Gareth Delany sliced to backward point to end a counter-attacking 22 from 16 deliveries, before Lorcan Tucker was trapped in front - a decision overturned on review.
Brief scores: Ireland: 172 (C Campher 59, AR McBrine 40, GJ Delany 22, KJ O'Brien 22, DJ Willey 5/30, S Mahmood 2/36). England: 174/4 (SW Billings 67, EJG Morgan 36, JJ Roy 24, JM Vince 25, SW Billings , CA Young 2/56). – Agencies