Ireland's players celebrate their famous win against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne (AFP) - Minnows Ireland pulled off a huge upset Wednesday, stunning world number two England by five runs with a fine bowling display in a rain-affected match to throw the Twenty20 World Cup wide open.
After being sent in to bat, Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie (62) led his team to 92-1 off 10 overs before a mid-order collapse saw them all out for 157 with four balls remaining
But England slumped to 29-3 with just one boundary in the first five overs as the Irish bowlers found pace and movement, and they struggled to get any momentum.
Eighteen minutes were lost to rain at the beginning of the game and the players were taken off again with England on 105-5 off 14.3 overs just as Moeen Ali was getting into his stride.
England were five runs behind on the DLS scoring method, giving Ireland a famous victory when the game was called off a few minutes later.
It was Ireland’s second massive upset of the tournament after they West Indies in the first round to send the two-time champions home.
England were among the title favourites and heavily-fancied to beat Ireland after opening their tournament with a five-wicket win over Afghanistan at the weekend.
Instead the shock defeat has thrown Group 1 wide open with Australia, Sri Lanka, Ireland and England all now with one win and one loss. Unbeaten New Zealand and Afghanistan play later Wednesday.
Morning drizzle cleared for the toss at an eerily quiet MCG after compared to the electric atmosphere when 90,000 packed the venue on Sunday for India’s incredible last-ball win over Pakistan.
England skipper Jos Buttler sent Ireland in and Mark Wood accounted for dangerous opener Paul Stirling, caught for 14 by Sam Curran at the ropes.
Wood was bowling at an explosive 154kph (96mph), the fastest of the tournament so far.
He caught Balbirnie on the finger, with treatment needed, but the Irish captain soldiered on, with both he and Lorcan Tucker regularly finding the boundary.
- Horror start -
Their partnership ended when Tucker was run out for 34.
Harry Tector was caught behind by Buttler off Wood two balls later, but Balbirnie stayed cool, reaching his eighth T20 half-century before holing out to Alex Hales off Liam Livingstone.
A yorker from Livingstone removed George Dockrell the next delivery before Wood grabbed his third with Curtis Campher (17) the victim.
Livingstone matched Wood’s three-wicket haul when Mark Adair was caught in the deep.
Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie scored 62 against England
England had a horror start with Buttler out second ball to the dangerous Josh Little, edging to wicketkeeper Tucker, and the out-of-form Hales followed him in the third over with Little again doing the damage.
Ben Stokes, so often the hero, only lasted eight balls, bowled by Fionn Hand, who was preferred to spinner Simi Singh, to leave England in deep trouble.
They crawled to just 64-3 after 10 overs, the halfway point of the innings, and Harry Brook (18) became another victim an over later, pulling George Dockrell to Gareth Delay at midwicket.
Dawid Malan was dropped twice in two balls on 23 but finally fell for a scratchy 35, top edging Barry McCarthy to Hand in the deep.
Ali (24 not out) began hitting out before the rain arrived to end England’s hopes.